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Leaders blot on clean crime cap

Innovative speedy trials, confiscation of ill-gotten property of corrupt bureaucrats and proactive action against dreaded history-sheeters in the JD(U) regime emancipated people from the deadly trap of criminals and bahubalis (strongmen).

People breathed in the fresh air of freedom. Night shows resumed in theatres across Bihar. Women started indulging in late-evening shopping.

Men in uniform got a free hand to tackle criminals in the new regime. Police force got modern gadgets for investigation. Science and forensic tests were introduced.

The initial six years of the Nitish rule saw a sharp decline in cases of kidnapping for ransom, road robbery, loot and offences related to property. The bright crime scenario, however, took a beating in the first eight months of the current year. Sharp upsurge in rape cases and involvement of some lawmakers in serious offences have reminded people of the dark days of “jungle raj”. The alleged gangrape of a teen in Patna and suicide of a college student in Sitamarhi invited sharp criticism from different quarters.

The alleged involvement in crime of some MLAs and MLCs, both of the BJP and the JD(U) put the state government in an uncomfortable position. When former JD(U) leader Vijay Kumar Shukla was accused of demanding Rs 2 crore as extortion from the director of a Bhagwanpur (Vaishali)-based private engineering college, the chief minister was embarrassed.

But overall, the law and order situation has improved in the state in the seven years of Nitish regime. Kidnapping for ransom recorded a fall of 74.5 per cent between 2005 and 2011. For the first time, the state police decided to confiscate the property of the criminals and middlemen under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 and Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance.

Director-general of police Abhayanand said: “We have set up a new cell called economic offences unit in Patna to deal with property-related offences.” The provision for confiscation of property accumulated by public servants through illegal means was also made under Bihar Special Courts Act, 2009.