Punjab hooch tragedy toll rises to 86, 7 excise officials and 6 policemen suspended

The death toll in the Punjab spurious liquor tragedy rose to 86 on Saturday even as Chief Minister Amarinder Singh suspended seven excise officials and six policemen, officials said. The government also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for each of the families of the deceased, they said.

Tarn Taran alone accounted for 63 deaths, followed by 12 in Amritsar and 11 in Gurdaspur’s Batala.

According to an official statement, Singh ordered the suspension of seven excise officials and six policemen. Among the suspended officials are two deputy superintendents of police and four station house officers.

Strict action will be taken against any public servant or others found complicit in the case, said Singh, 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.

The Punjab Police on Saturday arrested 17 more people in a massive crackdown spanning more than 100 raids in the three affected districts of Amritsar Rural, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran, along with several other places in and around Rajpura and Shambhu border. The total number of arrests in the case has gone up to 25.