Punjab hooch tragedy death toll rises to 98

 thehindu.com  08/02/2020 17:50:31 

The death toll in the hooch tragedy in three districts of Punjab has risen to 98 so far, government officials told The Hindu on Sunday. Thirty people have been arrested in connection with the tragedy.

At least 98 people have died over the past three days in three districts of Punjab, including 75 in Tarn Taran, 12 in Amritsar rural, and 11 in Gurdaspurs Batala city.

So far, 75 people have died in Tarn Taran, said Tarn Taran Deputy Commissioner Kulwant Singh. Meanwhile, Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ishfaq said that 11 deaths have been reported in Batala city of the district.

In Amritsar district, the total deaths have been 12 so far. One person is undergoing treatment at a local hospital, said Deputy Commissioner Gurpreet Singh Khaira.

Mind your State

Meanwhile, on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwals demand for a CBI probe into the tragedy, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday asked the former to mind his own business and not to exploit the tragic affair for reviving his defunct Aam Aadmi Partys stake in the State.

So many people have died and all you are interested in is making political meat from the incident, said Capt. Amarinder

He added that Mr. Kejriwal should concentrate on maintaining law and order in his own State, which, he said, was notorious for the brazen manner in which criminals and gangs were roaming the streets without fear.

Trashes claims

Trashing Mr. Kejriwals claim that none of the illicit liquor cases from the last few months have been solved by local police, Capt. Amarinder cited the April 22 case of an illicit liquor factory being busted in district Khanna.

He said eight accused had been arrested and a manhunt launched for seven others. In another case, the two kingpins of an illicit liquor distillery Patiala district were arrested on May 22 and June 13 this year, and on July 10, the challan had been filed in the court.

Another case was similarly unearthed in May with the arrest of a mafia leader, against whom the police was waiting for chemical analysis report to move forward.

Political gimmick

Capt. Amarinder said Mr. Kejriwals demand for a CBI probe was nothing but a political gimmick aimed at regaining lost foothold for his party.

He also advised Mr. Kejriwal to concentrate on his States COVID situation. Rather than worrying about Punjabs affairs, why dont you take care of the health and lives of Delhiites.

Pointing out that strict action was being taken against all those found guilty in any case of illicit brewing and smuggling, Capt. Amarinder said that in this case too, 30 persons had already been arrested under five FIRs registered in the three districts. Moreover, 13 officials from the police and excise and taxation departments had been suspended for negligence, while investigations were on to ascertain their complicity in the case, he said.

A Magisterial Commission of Inquiry had been set up with the mandate to submit its report within a month, he added.

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