Auction seized properties in 2 weeks: Nitish
BIHAR LIQUOR BAN
BIHAR CHIEF Minister Nitish Kumar has told district authorities to start auctioning within a fortnight properties that are confiscated from violators of the liquor prohibition law in the state.
Although in most districts land, cars and homes have been confiscated from alleged violators, not a single property has been auctioned.
The auction rule allows alleged violator to participate in the sale process to buy back their properties. However, if such auctions are carried out within a fortnight of the confiscation of the properties or belongings, alleged violators would lose what they had owned and be compelled to buy them back without being convicted.
According to the Bihar Excise (amendment) Act that came into force on October 2, 2016, anything allegedly used for drinking, storing or transporting liquor can be confiscated. The law is silent on what will happen if the accused is acquitted by a court later.
The government can at best refund the bidding price of a property without interest. Legal experts said this provision of the law “needed to be challenged”.
Several top governments officials PTI agreed the auction provision was harsh and they would not do anything till it was successfully challenged in court.
Nitish Kumar at a video conference meeting with the chief secretary, state police chief, excise commissioner, IGS, DMS and SPS on Thursday asked senior police officers to fight the “perception of liquor making its way into Bihar and some people still consuming it with impunity”.
According to sources present at the meeting, during the threehour exchange, Nitish expressed displeasure that the police were unable to contest the bails granted to the accused. To check liquor pilferage and consumption at police stations, he suggested IGS, DMS and SPS adopt decoy methodstoexposeerrantofficers.
One police officer who was present at the meeting said: “We were asked to monitor each police station in-charge,who would be denied field posting for 10 years if liquor is being sold in his area.”
Nitishalsoreportedlytookexception to the slow pace of destruction of seized liquor in the wake of storage problems and reported allegations that policemen were pilfering liquor. In all 38 districts, less than 50 per cent of the seized liquor stock is waiting for forensic reports that could take two to four months.
Nitish Kumar at a function in Patna on Thursday.