Bihar begins process to seize liquor mafia property



Patna, Dec 21 (IANS) Bihar Police have written to the state government to seize the properties of liquor mafia dons following the deaths of more than 50 people, mostly the poor, from illicit liquor in various regions across the state.

The process, which has Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's approval, has been launched to confiscate the properties of over half a dozen mafia dons, including three in Muzaffarpur district.

"The police headquarters has sent its proposal to the state government," Bihar Police chief Abhyanand told IANS.

He said it was a part of the strategy to hit those involved in illegal liquor to prevent hooch tragedies.

Among those being targeted are three Muzaffarpur-based men, including Vishwanath Shah, Gaya's Mantu Yadav and Bhojpur's Sanjay Singh.

"Police have already prepared a list of liquor mafia dons whose property would be confiscated in Bhojpur, Gaya, Munger and Madhubani districts and the process has started for it," another police official said.

An official in the Chief Minister's Office said Nitish Kumar had given the go ahead. Earlier this week, Nitish Kumar said strong legal action would be taken against those involved in the illegal liquor business, including confiscation of their properties under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act and the Excise Act.

Excise department officials estimate that the illegal liquor business costs the state exchequer about Rs.200 crore a year.

This is the first time that a move to confiscate the properties of liquor mafia has been initiated.

At least 35 poor people, mostly Dalits, died in Bhojpur after consuming spurious liquor. There were also 12 deaths in Gaya, and two each in Aurangabad and Patna in the last 15 days.

Opposition parties like the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Lok Janshakti Party, Left parties and the Congress have raised the issue of deaths in hooch tragedies in the state and demanded action against the guilty.

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