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Punjab Hooch Tragedies: SAD rejects Commissioner inquiry, demands judicial probe

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Chandigarh, July 31, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today rejected the Divisional Commissioner level inquiry ordered into the multiple hooch tragedies in Amritsar, Batala and Tarn Taran by chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and demanded a judicial probe by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court into the matter.

In a statement here, SAD Spokesman Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said the chief minister should not only hand over the responsibility of inquiring into the hooch tragedy which had claimed 21 lives to the high court, but also include the Rs 5,600 crore excise revenue loss, the sale of illegal liquor directly from distilleries, sale of spurious liquor from illegal distilleries and bottling plants patronised by Congress leaders and inter- State liquor smuggling in the ambit of the judicial probe.

“This is the only way to break the back of the illegal liquor industry besides bringing the guilty to book”.

Dr Daljit Cheema said the Divisional Commissioner level inquiry ordered by the chief minister was too little too late and would not serve any purpose. He said preliminary reports indicated that supply of spurious liquor was widespread and across districts and required a thorough investigation by an independent agency.

He said the present inquiry ordered by the chief minister also did not have the required terms of reference to book the real culprits. “Vague terms of reference which are limited to the incidents have been given. In such a situation no officer will go after Congress leaders who patronise liquor smuggling and sale of spurious liquor”.

Stating that the multiple hooch tragedies had exposed the under belly of the illegal liquor trade in Punjab, the SAD leader said it was not too late to take corrective measures to ensure such tragedies do not recur.

“The government must not shy away from taking action against anyone, however high he may be, to eradicate this menace. “The government should also act on complaints of the people with reports suggesting that the police failed to act despite complaints about sale of spurious liquor in Muchhal”.

The SAD leader also asked the chief minister to take action on all cases concerning sale of illegal liquor. He said one such case concerned the family of the CM’s Religious Advisor Paramjit Singh Sarna from whose sugar mill one truck of illicit liquor had been recovered. He said the case was diluted.

He said similarly Congress leaders who were responsible for patronising the Rajpura illegal distillery had not been proceeded against. He said the Patiala police has even refused to cooperate with the Enforcement Directorate by withholding information from it in the Rajpura case. “No concrete action has been taken in the case of illegal distilleries cum bottling plants unearthed in Khanna and Ludhiana”, he added.

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