Wu Tiandong, a Chinese national who was arrested for possessing a 180-ml bottle of liquor from Gardanibagh area of Patna on June 17, came out of Beur jail on Friday after he was granted bail by the Patna High Court. Tiandong, a resident of China’s Hubei province, had come to Bihar in December to work for Chinese mobile company, Oppo. His visa had expired on 17 June.
Tiandong, who otherwise praised hospitality of Beur jail administration- especially for providing him low-spice and Chinese food- had a tough time inside, as he had to live with common prisoners, some of them facing serious charges including that of murder. A source inside the Beur Central jail said, “As Tiandong was not very comfortable with English, he would keep quiet most of the time. He would also wonder how 50-60 people live in one hall with bare minimum facilities”. The court had given special instructions about his health check-ups.
Beur Central jail superintendent Rupak Kumar told The Indian Express, “There is no provision for separate accommodation to the Chinese national Tiandong. He had to live with other prisoners. But we did take care of his food choice by providing him less-spicy Chinese food. After all, he was a guest. We are happy that he praised our hospitality in court.” Asked, how many prisoners booked under the liquor law, have been in Beur jail, Kumar said, “About 1,500 of 2,300 prisoners are booked under the liquor law”.
Sajid Perwez, a PR representative of OPPO, who had assured full co-operation with Patna police after Tiandong’s arrest, said, “I have not sought latest on Tiandong and do not know where he has been staying after his release from the jail.”
Tiandong’s bail plea was rejected twice earlier by a lower court on the plea that as the offence falls under section 38 (1,2) of the Bihar Excise and Prohibition Act provides for a maximum jail term of 10 years with fine, he cannot be granted bail. The high court, however, granted him bail saying it was at court’s discretion to give bail to ones arrested under the act, of which all sections are non-bailable. Besides, Tiandong had an urgency to renew his visa that expired on June 21, four days after his arrest. Soon after his arrest, Wang Lifeng, economic and commercial consul at Chinese Consulate in Kolkata had approached Gardanibagh police station saying that Tiandond had no knowledge of liquor ban in the state. Lifeng had also suggested that a foreigner working or travelling in India should be given a list of “dos and dont’s”.
With the Bihar government set to bring amendments in Prohibition Act, prisoners, booked for consuming liquor, are likely to get bail faster.