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Two excise men held for booze smuggling links

Two excise men held for booze smuggling links

PATNA: In a first-of-its-kind case since prohibition was imposed in the state, two excise officials have been arrested for links with liquor smugglers in Saharsa.
Excise inspector Mohammad Faiyyaz Ahmed and assistant sub-inspector Virendra Pathak posted in Saharsa were arrested on Wednesday, while their district superintendent Mohammad Ashraf Jamal is absconding.
“The inspector and ASI were called at the police station for interrogation after which they were arrested. But the superintendent did not turn up. He will be arrested soon,” Saharsa SP Rakesh Kumar said.
The case relates to a seizure of 2,000 litres smuggled liquor from a truck in Saharsa town on October 12 last year in which the trio reportedly failed to follow procedure while producing accused in court in their bid to shield the culprits.
“An arrested accused Vibhishan Mehta was produced in court after a delay of 72 hours while production must take place within 24 hours,” the SP said.
“The judge was so furious that he refused to forward Mehta to judicial custody and instead ordered the ASI Pathaka, who was the investigating officer in the case, to explain the accused’s illegal detention,” the SP said.
“The list of seized items got prepared at 1.15am on October 13, within two hours of raid. The excise officers had entire day on October 13 to submit the FIR copy before court along with producing the accused. But nothing was done till October 15. The IO turned up in court with the accused on December 16,” the SP added.
Kumar said during an internal inquiry, it also came to light that the excise officers had held a press conference on October 13 and had taken names of three accused for their involvement in the case but none were named in the FIR.
“In addition, seized truck’s registration number mentioned in FIR did not match with the actual vehicle,” he said.
All these irregularities were probed by a team from IG (Prohibition) office. “Later another inquiry was conducted by Saharsa ASP and SDPO. Similar irregularities were found in the case after both inquiries following which orders were given to Sadar police station SHO Raj Mani to lodge an FIR against the trio,” he said.
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