An ambulance – donated by BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy for a local body – was seized in Bihar’s Saran district on Wednesday after it was found ferrying a large consignment of “country-made” liquor and its driver arrested, police said.
The district police recovered 280 litres of the liquor from the vehicle at Shyam Chak area of Chapra city and arrested driver Rakesh Rai in this connection.
The ambulance was purchased by Rudy with his MPLAD funds and donated to Kotwapatti Rampur panchayat, headed by mukhiya Jay Prakash Singh. During interrogation, the driver said that he was transporting the liquor consignment on the direction of Singh.
“The liquor consignment was loaded at Telpa village in Saran district and the vehicle was on the way to Siwan for delivery. We have been investigating the case to find out who others are involved in the smuggling,” said investigating officer R.C. Sharma.
Following the incident, Rudy went to the office of Saran District Magistrate in Chapra and gave a written complaint. He also clarified that he has no role in it.
“The ambulance was given to Kotwapatti Rampur Panchayat and a committee was governing this ambulance. The Panchayat committee comprises Mukhiya Jay Prakash Singh, Panchayat Secretary Arvind Prasad, driver Rakesh Rai and block health officer. These people are the actual operators of the ambulance,” Rudy said.
“The ambulance was purchased in 2018-19 and handed over on April 20, 2020 to Kotwapatti Rampur Panchayat to cater to 22,000 people. The panchayat committee is responsible for its operation. As the ambulance was used in smuggling of liquor, they are responsible for it. I appeal to the district administration to conduct a thorough probe in this matter and take strong action against the accused,” he added.
Rudy had faced criticism for keeping the ambulances unused during the second wave of coronavirus this year, and this was unearthed by former MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav.
After the incident, Pappu Yadav, in a tweet, said: “When I unearthed an ambulance during the second wave of corona I was sent to jail. Now, ambulances are being used for liquor smuggling. Chapra police seized an ambulance which was purchased from the MPLAD fund of Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who is the national spokesperson of BJP and MP of Saran district.”
“Ambulances may not be available for patients but it is surely available for liquor smuggling,” he also tweeted.
Leader of Opposition in Assembly Tejashwi Yadav said: “Nitish Kumar may be claiming that the liquor ban is completely implemented in Bihar but the ground reality is completely different from it. Ambulances purchased under MP fund are being used for liquor smuggling in Chapra….”