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Nab liquor kingpins: CM

Patna: Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday told senior police and home department officials that though liquor was being seized and small fries connected to the liquor mafia were being nabbed, the kingpins were not being arrested.

He asked them to spruce up their act on implementing prohibition.

"It's fine that illicit liquor is being recovered and people at the forefront in this regard are being arrested. But kingpins are not being arrested. You should nab them," Nitish told the senior police and home department officials.

"The public mandate is in your favour so you will have to identify big suppliers and mafias involved in the illegal liquor trade and arrest them. Their entire system needs to be destroyed. If 10 or 20 big suppliers are nabbed this illicit trade will automatically end," he added.

Total prohibition was implemented in Bihar on April 5, 2016, and it is an issue close to the chief minister's heart. He has regularly asserted that the ban on liquor has ushered in socio-economic change across the state.

Nitish also asked the officials to give special attention on expediting the destruction of the seized liquor kept in police stations across the state, as well as, take stern action against officials who are irresponsible in implementing prohibition. The most number of liquor seizures has been in Muzaffarpur.

The chief minister was speaking at a closed-door meeting held at his official residence at 1 Aney Marg in which he reviewed police, law and order.

Director-general of police Pramod Kumar Thakur, home department principal secretary Amir Subhani, additional director-general (ADG) (police headquarters) S.K. Singhal, inspector-general (IG) (special branch and economic offences unit) J.S. Gangwar and several other senior officials were present on the occasion.

Giving a detailed presentation on prohibition, the police officials told Nitish that gangs indulging in liquor trade have been placed in four categories for better identification. These are suppliers, stockists, distributors and local receivers. Persons involved in them are being identified and action is being taken against them.

The chief minister was also told about liquor being brought into Bihar from outside, especially Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, northeastern states and Nepal.

IG (prohibition) Ratan Sanjay Katiyar, whose post was created by the cabinet recently to strengthen the liquor ban in the state, suggested that 24x7 check posts and modern equipment were needed to detect liquor consignments coming in trucks and other vehicles.

The feasibility of installing CCTV cameras having automatic number plate-reading system on major routes, including national and state highways, was also discussed at the meeting. Nitish directed the officials to "analyse the roads where these are required and get them installed". He added that such cameras will not only aid prohibition, but would also be useful in crime control.

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