Congress MLA lands in trouble after booze sting in Patna

Patna/Bettiah: A Congress MLA in Bihar has landed in trouble after a sting operation caught the legislator on camera purportedly offering liquor to his guests, despite total prohibition imposed in the state by the Nitish Kumar government.

The man caught in the booze sting is Congress MLA from Narkatiaganj in West Champaran district Vinay Verma.

Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Aman Kumar said that the MLA had arrived at Sikarpur police station this morning to give a petition for registration of case against unknown journalists behind the sting operation.

As the police was deliberating on his request, the MLA's supporters smelling trouble, created ruckus to help the legislator get away. The SDPO said the police and Excise Superintendent Rakesh Kumar are deliberating on further action against the MLA after his vanishing act from the police station.

The sting showing the Congress MLA allegedly offering booze to guests at a posh hotel in Patna has created a major embarrassment for the grand secular alliance headed by Kumar in which Congress is a partner.

However, the embattled Congress MLA claimed "conspiracy" behind the sting. He claimed that he is a vegetarian and a teetotaler and any talk of offering liquor to guests was not true. A few persons claiming to be journalists came to me at a hotel in Patna and after talking on various subjects came to liquor ban on which he said the step has been appreciated by people particularly women in rural areas in particular.

He claimed the questioners falsely put words in his mouth in the sting as part of a conspiracy to tarnish his image as well as that of the JD(U), RJD and Congress grand secular alliance.

State Congress President and Education minister in Nitish Kumar ministry, Ashok Choudhary said in Patna that they had come to know about the episode through media reports and the party would issue a show cause to the concerned MLA in this regard.

"We will seek explanation from the MLA about the incident and accordingly intimate high command with it," Choudhary said.

The MLA's sting surfaced yesterday, a day when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar held a comprehensive meeting of officials of six districts of Patna division to take stock of execution of complete ban on liquor.

Following this up, Kumar today conducted a review meeting at Bhagalpur.

The episode showing violation of complete ban on liquor by the grand secular alliance, provided opportunity to opposition BJP to attack the government.

Leader of Opposition in State Legislative Assembly Prem Kumar said the incident poses a question mark on the effectiveness of prohibition announced by the Chief Minister. He demanded annulment of membership of the MLA from Assembly for violating oath taken by Legislators against liquor.

Senior JD(U) leader Shyam Rajak said the Congress party would definitely go into details of the unsavoury incident and initiate action if allegation against the MLA was found true.

Bihar has been witnessing complete prohibition since April 5. As per the announcement sale and consumption of country, spiced liquor as well Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) are prohibited in the state with a stringent provision of arrest and penal action against the violators.

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