Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday assured that no one found guilty in the recent hooch tragedy in the state that killed over 100 people, will be spared amid voices within his own party alleging state government’s complicity with the illicit liquor mafia.
At least 110 people died after consuming spurious liquor, mainly in the three districts– Tarn Taran, Amritsar and Batala. The Punjab government is facing a barrage of attacks from opposition and even from within the ruling party over allegations of state government’s alleged connivance with the mafia running the illicit liquor trade.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident and instructed the police chief for a swift crackdown on the spurious liquor network in the state, said no one will be spared irrespective of their influence and position.
“Deaths by illicit alcohol are extremely sad and unfortunate. Police and Excise Depts tasked to nab all responsible, irrespective of their affiliations & position. Assure you as CM that no one will be spared & guilty will be punished to ensure justice,” Singh tweeted on Tuesday.
Singh’s tweet follows a Congress MP accusing the state government of being complicit with the accused.
“It’s a big tragedy, such a thing has never happened in Punjab. It couldn’t have happened without the knowledge of government & police. That is why no action is being taken. How did raw material for liquor come amid curfew?,” Congress Rajya Sabha MP Shamsher Dullo was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Dullo further questioned how the tragedy took place despite him having warned the state government and the party top brass in Delhi about the menace of spurious liquor trade in the Punjab.
“I had warned the state government a month back in writing, even wrote to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi & Manmohan Singh… but no action was taken. Govt seems to be in cahoots with smugglers,” Dullo was quoted as saying.
Dullo is not the only Congress leader to have attacked the Punjab government, also run by the Congress party. Congress leader Pratap Singh Bajwa had also hit out at Amarinder Singh government over the tragedy. Now, a miffed Punjab Congress is demanding disciplinary action against the duo.
The state police have made around 40 arrests including of two businessmen in the case and a manhunt has been launched for a Ludhiana-based paint business owner who is believed to have supplied three drums of spurious liquor, responsible for the deaths.
Police are chasing eight more identified accused, including the Ludhiana-based paint shop owner, Rajesh Joshi, who is believed to be a key player in the mafia chain, said DGP Dinkar Gupta.
The magisterial inquiry ordered by the government is also probing the role of six police and seven excise and taxation officers who were suspended on Saturday for alleged dereliction of duty.
The state government has also rejected a demand for CBI probe into the incident made by Delhi chief minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal