Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today demanded that the ambit of Money Laundering Act be expanded by empowering states to seize property up to Rs 5 crore amassed through illegal means. “I am not talking to dilute power of ED (Enforcement Directorate). Rather if the power is expanded and states are authorised to seize property up to Rs 5 crore it would help in enforcing strong measure against wrongdoers,” Kumar said addressing a function organised by the state police.
“I have been raising for last 5-6 years the issue of delegating power to state under Money Laundering Act,” he said.
Kumar was delivering inaugural function of International day against misuse of intoxicants and its illegal trade organised by state police headquarters. Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, state police chief P K Thakur, Principal Secretary Home Amir Subhani and a host of senior civil and police officials were present.
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Kumar, who imposed total liquor ban in the state in April last year reeled figures to disapprove critics claiming that prohibition resulted in drop in arrival of tourists into Bihar. “The fact is that arrival of domestic tourists into Bihar in 2016 increased by 68 per cent as compared to 2015 which was a hike of 9 per cent in case of foreign tourists,” Kumar said in support of his assertions. On apprehension expressed about substantial fall in revenue on account of loss to the state of Rs 5000 crore annually from Excise tax, Kumar said revenue collection was short by around Rs 1000 crore in 2016-17.
“Next time this will also end,” he said allaying fear of revenue loss on account of prohibition. The CM repeated that loss of revenue from liquor sale has been neutralised by increase in sale of sweets, milk, sewing machines among others from money saved from liquor. Kumar said success of complete liquor ban in Bihar has triggered similar demand in other states also.
“Gujarat, where prohibition was already existing, has amended its law on pattern of Bihar against liquor to make it more stringent,” he said proudly. The Bihar CM said after the liquor ban, the state is now moving towards detoxification from prohibition. Speaking at an another function of “EID milan”, Kumar said that people of all faiths are in support of total liquor ban. “Prohibition links people of all religions and faiths,” Kumar said at a function at Anjuman Islamia hall here.