A Congress MLA was booked by police after purportedly offering liquor to his guests in a sting operation despite total prohibition in the state. The case was lodged on a complaint filed by the excise department officials.
The police action came after news channel Aaj Tak showed a sting operation Monday purportedly showing Narkatiyaganj MLA Vinay Verma bragging about having liquor at his homes in Patna and West Champaran. The MLA was led into a conversation about whether liquor was still easily available in the state.
The case was filed at Shikarpur and Pataliputra police stations under the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act’s provisions of “possession of liquor” and “propagating consumption of liquor”. However, no liquor bottle was found at the MLA’s Shikarpur (West Champaran) and Pataliputra (Patna) homes during excise department raids.
Bihar Congress chief and the state’s education minister, Ashok Kumar Choudhary, said: “The state government has served a stern message that even a ruling party MLA cannot behave irresponsibly. We have served a showcause notice to Verma. If he is innocent, he has to prove it.”
Legal experts, however, argued the police did not have a strong case. “Since no liquor bottle was shown and nor the MLA is seen offering a drink, it is very difficult to prove the case,” said a high court lawyer.
Verma said: “I was trapped into a casual conversation, but I had never made any offer to drink liquor at home. I was only talking about easy availability of liquor along the Nepal border. I am mulling over the option of filing a defamation suit.”