According to the Hindu newspaper, senior superintendent of police of state capital Patna, Manu Maharaj, was informed of the disappearance of contraband from storage in a meeting this week, and was initially skeptical about how rats could have gained access to sealed glass bottles. His subordinates told him that the rodents chewed through the bottle caps, before glugging the drink.
Maharaj immediately instructed police stations across the state – some of which had been forced to rent additional space to accommodate the confiscated stock – to rid police stations of rats, and sprinkle contraband with rat poison.
Nonetheless, suggesting that he wasn’t entirely convinced by the explanation, the senior superintendent also ordered regular breathalyzer tests for officers.
“If they fail the test they could even lose their jobs, apart from being prosecuted under the new stringent excise and prohibition laws,” Maharaj told the Hindu.
In what may or may not be a related story, on Wednesday two senior policemen were arrested for consuming alcohol inside a police station in Patna.
“The [police] reached the spot after getting to know that the two were creating [a] ruckus and publicly consuming liquor, and found both of them heavily drunk,” a police source told Indian news agency IANS.
The two officers resisted arrest, accusing Maharaj of unsanctioned violence, and reinforcements were required to subdue the men, who have been placed in custody for fourteen days. Both were found to have blood alcohol levels over five times above the legal norm.
Nominally, those found in breach of the temperance campaign adopted by the government of Bihar, India’s third most populous state, home to over 100 million people, face up to 10 years in jail. According to Zee News, over the last 13 months 45,000 people have been arrested in the north-eastern province, following raids on more than 218,000 locations.