Punjab CM orders suspension and inquiry against 7 excise and taxation officials, 6 police officers in hooch case
Announces Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia to family of 86 reported dead so far in tragedy across 3 districts
Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday ordered the suspension of, and inquiry against, seven Excise & Taxation Officers and Inspectors, along with two DSPs and four SHOs of Punjab Police, in connection with the hooch tragedy, which has so far claimed 86 lives in the three districts of Tarn Taran, Amritsar Rural and Gurdaspur.
He has also announced Rs 2 lakhs 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 Amritsar Rural 12 and Gurdaspur (Batala) 11.
Strict action will be taken against any public servant or others found complicit in the case, said the Chief Minister, describing the police and Excise Department failure to check the manufacturing and sale of spurious liquor as shameful. Nobody will be allowed to get away with feeding poison to our people, he added.
Vowing stringent action against all those involved in the case, the Chief Minister warned those indulging in spurious liquor business to stop immediately or face grave consequences. He said he had directed the police to trace the culprits and charge all the people involved in the case, in which he had yesterday ordered a magisterial inquiry by a Divisional Commissioner, who has been asked to submit his report within a month. Such illegal acts are not acceptable, he said, asserting that the life of every single Punjabi was precious and he will not let people dying to the greed of a few criminals.
Urging the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal not to politicise the tragedy, in which so many families had been destroyed, Captain Amarinder Singh said such cases had happened earlier too, including under the SAD-BJP regime. Similar incidents had occurred in 2012 and 2016 in Gurdaspur and Batala respectively. Several lives were lost in these cases too, he pointed out, adding that in the Batala case, no FIR was even registered and no action taken against the main accused.
The death of even a single Punjabi, be it due to Covid or illicit liquor consumption, was unfortunate, said the Chief Minister, adding that the “life of every Punjabi is important to me.”
During the 13th edition of the Facebook Live #AskCaptain interaction, the Chief Minister announced the suspension of ETOs (Excise & Taxation Officers) Lovejinder Brar from Gurdaspur, BS Chahal from Amritsar and Madhur Bhatia from Tarn Taran. The Excise & Taxation Inspectors (ETIs) who have been suspended with immediate effect are Ravi Kumar (Gurdaspur), Gurdeep Singh (Amritsar) and Pukhraj from Fatehbad and Hitesh Prabhakar from City Tarn Taran in district Tarn Taran.
The police officials suspended on charges of negligence in duty include DSP Jandiala (Amritsar Rural) and DSP Sub-division Tarn Taran, and the SHOs of PS Tarsikka (Amritsar Rural), City Batala (Batala police district), PS Sadar Tarn Taran and PS City Tarn Taran.