2009 hooch tragedy: Probe panel’s report mum on blame

140 people had died in Ahmedabad after consuming spurious liquor.

Written by Express News Service | Gandhinagar | Published: January 1, 2012 3:26 am

Justice (retired) K M Mehta Commission,which was formed in July 2009 to inquire into the infamous hooch tragedy in Ahmedabad in the same month that left 140 dead,has submitted its report to the state home department.

After several extensions,the panel’s term expired on December 31.

The other members of the panel were former DGP G C Raigar,Dr M S Dahiya,a deputy director at the Gandhinagar Forensic Science Laboratory,and Dr Kirit Mithawala of MP Shah Cancer Hospital.

According to sources,the commission has suggested to focus more on the publicity and awareness drive to prevent consumption of spurious liquor and strengthening medical facilities in government hospitals to handle hooch tragedies.

Sources said the panel does not recommend any concrete action plan to prevent such tragedies in future and has refrained from fixing blame for laxity in enforcing prohibition laws.

As per its terms of reference,the commission was supposed to inquire into the cause of deaths,adequacy of action taken by the police to implement prohibition laws and their negligence,if any,besides medical preparedness in the face of such tragedies.

The state government reportedly plans to table the report in upcoming Assembly session in February-March.

After the 2009 hooch tragedy,the state government had proposed a Bill to add stringent provisions to the state’s anti-prohibition law,including death penalty for bootleggers. The Bill,after some initial hiccups,was passed by the state Assembly in 2010 Budget Session. Since then,the Bill has been pending with the Governor.

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