Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi on Tuesday claimed there was no complete ban on liquor in Bihar and that it was easily available in the state. “The government should be ashamed, there is no complete ban on liquor, it is available easily,” ANI quoted Rabri as saying.
The Nitish Kumar-led government in 2016 notified the new Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 which ensured a complete ban on sale and consumption of liquor – both Indian Made Foreign Liquor and country-made – in the state.
The RJD leader’s remark comes after Sitamarhi BJP leader Manoj Baitha allegedly ran over nine schoolchildren at Minapur on Saturday. There are reports that the driver of the SUV was drunk. However, no arrests have been made so far in the case.
The former Bihar chief minister also said they won’t let the state assembly function until Baitha is arrested.
Meanwhile, her son and former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav accused the state government of shielding the BJP leader. “Neither Nitish Kumar nor Sushil Modi has spoken on this matter or sought apology yet. The government is trying to brush this under the carpet. Kahan gayi Nitish Ji ki antaratma,” ANI quoted Tejashwi as saying.
“Why hasn’t Manoj Baitha been arrested yet? The news was spread that he surrendered before police. But we do not know that for sure. Only administration can say if he surrendered, was arrested or fled to Nepal,” he added.
Meanwhile, Narayan Baitha, father of Manoj Baitha, said the driver and not his son who had taken the car from their home.
“The driver took the car from here, after that, we do not know where he took it or what happened,” Narayan Baitha told ANI.
Earlier in the day, opposition parties staged a protest outside the Bihar Legislative Assembly over the hit-and-run case.
The state police yesterday lodged a case against the Sitamarhi BJP leader in connection with the case. Though the police are still not sure if Baitha was driving, they said they had collected important evidence and would soon find out who was at the wheel. Local residents have told police that they saw three people fleeing the spot, leaving the SUV behind.