Punjab Police Monday arrested 12 more people, including two businessmen, in a crackdown against the illegal liquor trade even as the toll in the hooch tragedy rose to 110 with six more deaths being reported.
Three fatalities were reported from Tarn Taran, two from Gurdaspur’s Batala and one from Amritsar. Tarn Taran is the worst affected with 83 deaths, followed by Batala (14) and Amritsar (13).
Police arrested key accused Harpreet Singh alias Happy of village Maina Punder in Batala. So far, police have arrested 37 people in this regard. A manhunt has been launched for eight more accused, including a Ludhiana-based paint shop owner, Rajesh Joshi, believed to be a key player in the illegal liquor trade, said DGP Dinkar Gupta.
Investigations are also in progress to identify other links, he said, adding that they were trying to identify the various supply routes across districts since there were several people who bought denatured spirit from Joshi.
Earlier, the DGP said that a departmental inquiry has been launched against two DSPs and four SHOs who were suspended by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for negligence. The magisterial inquiry ordered by the CM is probing the involvement of all the suspects, as well as the six police police and seven excise & taxation officer who too were suspended.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders and Rajya Sabha members from Punjab, Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo alleged “clear-cut failure” by the state and claimed the tragedy could have been averted, had the CM acted in time on their complaints about illegal liquor businesses.
The two leaders met Governor V P Singh Badnore and demanded a CBI and ED probe into the alleged illegal liquor trade in the state.— With PTI inputs
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