Amritsar Rural police have arrested a Tarn Taran resident who was involved in the smuggling of countrymade liquor even after the recent hooch tragedy that left 113 dead in three districts of Punjab.
Sukhdev Singh of None village in Tarn Taran was allegedly smuggling liquor into Bundala village of Amritsar Rural, and was arrested while entering the village. “I had information that illegal liquor supply was available in Bundala village. I was sure that no smuggler was active in village. We received information that liquor supply was available from adjoining village None in Tarn Taran. In fact we saw many residents of Bundala going to None to get liquor,” said Shamsher Singh, the investigating officer in the case.
“It didn’t stop here. One of the smugglers from None was also supplying in Bundala,” said Shamsher Singh, adding, “Sukhdev Singh, who is differently-abled, was bringing around nine bottles of liquor to Bundala when we stopped and searched him outside the village. He was arrested and a case under the Excise Act was registered at Jandiala police station of Amritsar Rural.”
“We have been troubled by smugglers from Tarn Taran. This tragedy also proved that the liquor was pouring into Amritsar Rural from Tarn Taran,” said the officer.
Another police officer in Amritsar district said, “It is not our jurisdiction but we have also been patrolling in None village to keep eye on smugglers to create a sense of fear among them. Arrest of Shamsher Singh will send a message to all smugglers in adjoining Tarn Taran villages, who want to smuggle liquor into Amritsar.”
Gaurav Toora, IPS, SP (Investigation), Amritsar Rural, said they were going to chalk out a plan to stop the smuggling of drugs from Tarn Taran to Amritsar Rural. “We have been planning to deploy more patrolling teams at the border of Tarn Taran. We will also use drones to keep an eye on the routes in use for smuggling. We will also ask the public for support, make them aware about how illicit liquor can harm their health and will also make them participate in our campaign to stop drug smuggling,” he added.
Tarn Taran SSP is Amritsar Rural SSP now
On the day the first hooch death was reported, Tarn Taran SSP Dhruv Dahiya was transferred to Amritsar Rural as part of routine transfers across the state. The transfer, sources said, had no link with the tragedy which was yet to unfold at that time.
Dahiya was SSP Tarn Taran while the nexus was working in its full strength and Tarn Taran police failed to detecting at least three modus operandi which were operational in Tarn Taran to bring in liquor from other parts of Punjab.
Liquor was not only being smuggled into Tarn Taran but there was also a strong network of smugglers who were pushing liquor to customers in Tarn Taran, Amritsar and Gurdaspur.
So far, two SHOs and a DSP of Tarn Taran have been suspended.