On December 31, 2022, the Crime Branch of Delhi Police arrested the mastermind in Bihar’s Chhapra illicit liquor tragedy that took the lives of around 80 people.
The arrested is identified as Ram Babu Mahto and was arrested from the Dwarka area. Police said that he was earlier involved in seven other cases.
As per special Commissioner of Police (CP) Crime Branch Ravinder Yadav, “Information was received and developed by the Inter-State Cell, Crime Branch, Chanakyapuri, Delhi that one Ram Babu Mahto wanted in the case related to spurious liquor tragedy in Bihar, may be hiding somewhere in Delhi.”
Ravinder Yadav said, “On the basis of technical surveillance as well as specific inputs, the accused Ram Babu Mahto from Bihar’s Doila, was arrested from the area of Dwarka in Delhi.”
CP further added that appropriate legal action is being taken and information regarding the arrest has been shared with Bihar Police for further action. “Bihar Police was contacted and it was confirmed that accused Ram Babu Mahto is one of the most wanted in 2022 case under the Bihar Excise Act- 2016 registered at Police Station Mashrak” in Bihar.
Mahto was one of the key players in the entire hooch episode where several people lost their lives.
Police added that Ram Babu Mahto, a dropout of Class 8 belongs to a farming family and has four brothers and two sisters.
The Inter-state cell of the crime branch worked on the tip-off and coordinated with Bihar Police while searching for Mahto.
Special CP added “Ram Babu claimed that his family is in bad financial condition. However, owing to the prohibition of liquor in the state of Bihar, he sensed an opportunity to make quick and easy money and indulged in manufacturing and selling spurious liquor.”
Bihar Government banned the sale and consumption of alcohol in the state in 2016, and since then the deaths due to the consumption of spurious alcohol have increased.
On December 28, 2022, during raids in the Begusarai District of Bihar, several liquor smugglers attacked a police team. The incident led to the injury of Several policemen. Police carried out a raid after getting a tip-off of the sale of liquor in the area.
On December 19, 2022, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) arrested a liquor smuggler in connection with the case in the Saran District and also retrieved Rs 2.17 lakh in cash. The arrested accused was identified as Akhilesh Kumar Yadav alias Akhilesh Rai.
After the arrest of Mahto, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered a strict action against the accused. Kumar added, “Government is keeping a close watch. We have been investigating this case right after the incident took place. The majority of people are in favour of the liquor ban. I have ordered to take strict actions against the accused.”