Liquor cuffs on Dal leader kin – The Telegraph – Calcutta Telegraph

Sasaram sub-divisional police officer Alok Ranjan (seated in centre) briefs reporters after the special operation against bootleggers in Rohtas on Sunday. Picture by Sanjay Choudhary

Two relatives of the national president of the JDU youth wing were among six people arrested on Sunday in connection with the seizure of 120 cartons or around 1,036 litres of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) in Rohtas district.

The arrest of the JDU leader’s kin is likely to come as a major embarrassment to the Nitish Kumar-led government, which has made war against liquor the cornerstone of its politics.

Confirming the arrests and seizure, Rohtas superintendent of police (SP) Manavjit Singh Dhillon said: “Investigations are going on in the case. We won’t be able to provide much details about the case.” However, sources in the police said the people arrested from Kargahar, around 160km southwest of Patna, included Ramchandra Rai and Sadanand Singh, the father-in-law and the brother-in-law of Sanjay Kumar, the national president of Yuva (youth wing) JDU.

“We came to know about their connection only when they started dropping Sanjay’s name. We found the relations to be correct. All the arrested are being interrogated and would be produced before a magistrate later on,” a senior police officer told The Telegraph.

The Telegraph could not contact Sanjay despite several attempts. However, JDU spokesperson and Legislative Council member Neeraj Kumar said: “Sanjay is not involved in the case because he lives in New Delhi. How would he know what his in-laws are doing in Bihar? People can see that the rule of law in the state does not even exempt relatives of top leaders. If they commit wrong, the law will take its own course as in this case.”

Manoj Gupta, Shashi Kumar, Chandan Kumar and Rasbihari Yadav were the others arrested in the case. They all belong to different parts of Rohtas district.

The police officer said investigations were on to ascertain whether or not Sanjay colluded with those arrested in their operations. All the bottles belong to Royal Style brand and their labels show that they were manufactured and bottled in Chandigarh.

Sasaram sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Alok Ranjan said: “The seized liquor bottles were hidden in a distributary of Sone river at Karpura village under Kargahar police station area in the district. The distributary (water distributing channel) was dry.”

“The arrests and seizures were done on the basis of our increased surveillance across the district in light of prohibition. We were probing a case related to the seizure of around 900 litres of IMFL from a container truck here by the economic offences unit on January 30 this year, when the involvement of the people arrested today (Sunday) came to light. We were conducting technical surveillance and the mobile numbers of Ramchandra and Sadanand cropped up. They procured IMFL illegally from other states and distributed in Rohtas,” Alok added.

Sunday’s seizure was also made on the basis of mobile surveillance of the accused, sources in the police said. Sadanand supplies broken/residual grains of milled rice to distilleries in Punjab and Haryana. The police believe he started dealing in illegal liquor in Bihar by using his connections in those states.

Rohtas has seen around six major seizures since total prohibition was implemented in Bihar on April 5, 2016. Its location along Bihar’s border with Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand helps bootleggers and liquor mafia, who have opened several channels to smuggle in liquor.

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