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Punjab hooch tragedy toll rises to 86

Daughter Kamalpreet Kaur (centre) and wife Kulwinder Kaur (right) of Kirpal Singh, who died after allegedly consuming spurious liquor, mourns during the cremation of Singh at Mucchal village near Amritsar, Punjab on August 1, 2020.

Daughter Kamalpreet Kaur (centre) and wife Kulwinder Kaur (right) of Kirpal Singh, who died after allegedly consuming spurious liquor, mourns during the cremation of Singh at Mucchal village near Amritsar, Punjab on August 1, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The death toll in the hooch tragedy in three Punjab districts — Tarn Taran, Amritsar Rural and Gurdaspur — has risen to 86 so far, said Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday.

The Chief Minister also ordered the suspension of, and inquiry against, seven Excise and Taxation Officers and Inspectors, along with two Deputy Superintendents of Police and four Station House Officer of Punjab Police in connection with the hooch tragedy.

Mr. Singh also announced ₹2 lakh ex gratia compensation to each of the families of the deceased, most of whom are from Tarn Taran, which accounts for 63 deaths, followed by 12 deaths in Amritsar Rural and 11 deaths in Gurdaspur (Batala.

“Strict action will be taken against any public servant or others found complicit in the case,” said the CM, describing the Punjab Police and Excise Department’s failure to check the manufacture and sale of spurious liquor as “shameful”. He was speaking at a Facebook Live interaction event.

Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta said the police on Saturday arrested 17 more persons in connection with the case through more than 100 raids in the three affected districts, along with several other places in and around the Rajpura and Shambhu border.

“The total number of arrests in the case has gone up to 25. A mafia mastermind, a woman kingpin, a transport owner, a wanted criminal and owner-managers of various dhabas from where the illicit liquor was being supplied are among the arrested accused,” said Mr. Gupta.

According to the Excise Commissioner, though reports of the chemical analysis of the material seized in Friday’s raids were yet to come, a superficial check showed that the material was denatured spirit, generally used in the paint and hardware industries.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 8:40:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-hooch-tragedy-toll-rises-to-65/article32248279.ece

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