At least 86 people have died in the hooch tragedy in Punjab. About 100 raids were conducted in three affected districts of Amritsar Rural, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran as part of a massive crackdown on Saturday. With 17 more arrests, the number has gone up to 25. Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered the suspension of, and inquiry against, seven Excise and Taxation Officers and Inspectors, along with two DSPs and four SHOs of Punjab Police. He has also announced Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia compensation to each of the families of the deceased, most of whom are from Tarn Taran, which accounts for 64 deaths, followed by Amritsar Rural (12) and Gurdaspur (Batala) (11).
PUNJAB HOOCH TRAGEDY: WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR
- Over 100 raids conducted in three affected districts of Amritsar Rural, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran, along with several other places in and around Rajpura and Shambhu border.
- A mafia mastermind, a woman kingpin, a transport owner, a wanted criminal and owners/managers of various dhabas from where the illicit liquor was being supplies are among the arrested accused.
- The raiding parties have also seized large quantities of Lahan from various villages and dhabas in the region around Shambhu border, Rajpura, and Patiala.
- Officials said the raids have exposed a massive racket in illicit liquor, extending across several districts. The dhabas, identified as Zilmil Dhaba, Green Dhaba, Chhinda Dhaba in Shambhu, Banur and Rajpura in Patiala have been sealed.
- As much as 750 litres of Lahan has been seized from Baghaura village.
- During the raids at Jhilmil dhaba, 200 litres of Lahan has been seized, and manager Narinder Singh arrested.
- At Green Dhaba, approximately 200 litres of diesel-like liquid was recovered in small containers. It was being sold by truck drivers to the dhaba owner. The dhaba has also been sealed and owner arrested.
- According to the Excise Commissioner, though reports of the chemical analysis of the material seized in yesterday’s raids were yet to come, a superficial check showed that the material was Denatured Spirit, generally used in paint/hardware industry.
- Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said strict action will be taken against any public servant or others if found complicit in the case. He described the police and Excise Department’s failure to check the manufacturing and sale of spurious liquor as shameful. Nobody will be allowed to get away with feeding poison to our people, he said.