Liquor tragedy: Punjab CM suspends 7 excise officers, 6 cops

Warns of strict action against officials found guilty

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 1

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday ordered the suspension and inquiry against seven Excise and Taxation Officers and Inspectors along with two DSPs and four SHOs of the Punjab Police in connection with the spurious liquor tragedy, which has so far claimed 86 lives in Tarn Taran, Amritsar (Rural) and Gurdaspur.

Don’t politicise: Capt

  • Urging SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal not to politicise the tragedy, CM Capt 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 in which several lives were lost, he said

He has also announced Rs 2 lakh ex gratia compensation for each of the families of the deceased. Strict action will be taken against any public servant or others found complicit in the case, said the CM, 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 CM warned those indulging in spurious liquor business to stop immediately or face consequences. He said he had directed the police to trace the culprits and charge all those involved in the case in which he had yesterday ordered a magisterial inquiry by a Divisional Commissioner. “Such illegal acts are not acceptable,” he said.

During the 13th edition of the Facebook Live #AskCaptain interaction, the Chief Minister announced the suspension of Excise and Taxation Officers (ETOs) Lovejinder Brar from Gurdaspur, BS Chahal from Amritsar and Madhur Bhatia from Tarn Taran. The Excise and Taxation Inspectors who have been suspended with immediate effect are Ravi Kumar (Gurdaspur), Gurdeep Singh (Amritsar), Pukhraj (Fatehbad) and Hitesh Prabhakar (Tarn Taran City).

The police officials suspended on charges of negligence of duty include DSP, Jandiala, (Amritsar rural) and DSP, Tarn Taran sub-division and the SHOs of PS Tarsikka (Amritsar rural), Batala City (Batala police district), PS Sadar (Tarn Taran) and PS City (Tarn Taran).

Govt failed to rein in mafia: Dullo

Chandigarh: Rajya Sabha MPs Shamsher Singh Dullo and Partap Singh Bajwa have said the tragedy could have been averted had the government acted on the ground realty. Dullo said if the Chief Minister would have acted on his letter written to him on liquor mafia, the tragedy would not have happened. He questioned the state government for its failure to reign in the liquor mafia and failure to act against officials behind it. Seeking accountability for the tragedy, Bajwa said the incident symbolised the growing “bureaucratic-police-liquor mafia nexus in the state”. TNS

CM should step down: Sukhbir

Amritsar: SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh should step down taking moral responsibility for the liquor tragedy. He visited the aggrieved families at Amritsar and Tarn Taran on Saturday. “It is murder. All the guilty, including ministers and ruling party MLAs, should be arrested,” he said. Sukhbir said the tragedy was not just a sudden and one-off accident. “It is a tragedy that was waiting to happen,” he added. The SAD president also demanded Rs25 lakh compensation and job for each of the bereaved families. TNS

Bains seeks Rs1 cr for victims’ kin

Ludhiana: Accusing the state government of failing to act against the mafia behind illegal liquor trade, Lok Insaaf Party chief Simarjeet Singh Bains urged the state government to pay Rs1 crore in compensation to the kin of victims of the tragedy. He said the CM had taken oath to make the state drug-free within four weeks before the 2017 Assembly polls, but nothing was done. “Even during lockdown, illegal liquor factories were running with the support of the government. If no action is taken against the accused, we along with victims’ families will stage a protest,” he said. TNS


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