SPS Parmar, Inspector General of Police (IG), border range. (Photo: ANI)
AMRITSAR: The toll in the hooch tragedy in Punjab mounted to 70 on Saturday, with maximum 47 deaths reported from Tarn Taran district.
Tarn Taran deputy commissioner Kulwant Singh told TOI that so far, 47 deaths had been reported from the district while inspector general, border range, SPS Parmar informed there have been 11 and 12 deaths, respectively, in Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts.
The unofficial number of deaths is reported to be around 80.
Hardial Singh Maan, deputy inspector general, Ferozpour division informed that relatives of many deceased had performed the last rites of their dear ones after their deaths without informing the police.
He said police had arrested nine people so far and registered a case against them under sections 304,328, 120 B, 61/1/14 Excise Act. Sources informed that the cops had identified two more persons who were still absconding.
“The police had also recovered illicit liquor,” the sources added.
Gurdaspur deputy commissioner Mohammad Ishfaq informed that police had arrested five persons, including two women Faujan and Trivani, the later runs a youtube news channel. He wondered sill relatives of many victims were denying that their dear ones had died after consuming spurious liquor and maintain that they had died of some illness.
“It is unbelievable that five to six people living within a range of one to two kilometres dies of heart attack or some other disease within few hours,” he said, adding, police had been instructed to take strict action against the culprits.
Lok Sabha Member Parliament (MP) Jasbir Singh Dimpa said the state government had announced to give a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased. He said police had been directed to arrest the culprits within 48 hours.
Dimpa said divisional commissioner Jalandhar was conducting a magisterial inquiry into the incident, besides a team led by senior superintendent of Amritsar rural, police were also conducting a probe.
MLA, Jandiala, Sukhvinder Singh Danny also met the relatives of the deceased and those under treatment in a hospital.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Kultar Singh Sandhwa and Jai Shankar Rohri, MLAs from Kotkapura and Garshankar have expressed condolences with the relatives of those who had died in the hooch tragedy in Batala. Both of them blamed the Congress government for allegedly sheltering the bootleggers.
They demanded the chief minister to immediately step down while taking the responsibility of the deaths. Both of them also demanded a high-level probe into the deaths in Amritsar, Batala and Tarn Taran from a sitting judge of Punjab and Haryana high court beside a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to next of kin of the victim.
“Cases under section 302 IPC should be registered against those found responsible for the deaths,” they demanded.