Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 31
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered a magisterial inquiry by Divisional Commissioner Jalandhar into the suspicious deaths of 36 people allegedly due to consumption of spurious liquor in Amritsar, Batala and Tarn Taran.
Details of many of those killed are still awaited.
People mourn those who died after drinking hooch in Muchhal village in Jandiala on Friday. Tribune photo
On Friday, five more people died in Batala, taking the toll in the city to seven, while one person has been referred to Civil Hospital, Batala, in critical condition.
However, the inquiry looks into the facts and circumstances leading to incidents, as well as into any other issues connected or relevant to the incidents and the circumstances leading to it.
It will be conducted by Divisional Commissioner Jalandhar, along with Joint Excise & Taxation Commissioner Punjab, and SPs Investigation of the concerned districts, according to an official spokesperson.
The Chief Minister has given Commissioner Jalandhar Division the liberty to co-opt any civil and police officer or any expert to facilitate the expeditious conduct of the inquiry.
He has promised strict action against anyone found complicit in the case, in which a woman has so far been arrested.
Taking immediate and serious note of the case, Captain Amarinder also directed the police to launch a search operation to crack down on any spurious liquor manufacturing units that may be operating in the state.
Police have arrested Balwinder Kaur, resident of Muchhal, under the section 304 Indian Penal Code, 61/1/14 Excise Act at PS Tarsikka. Further investigations are in progress under the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by SSP Amritsar-Rural, from where the first cases were reported.
Tarn Taran Police booked two people—Kashmir Singh and Angrej Singh from Pandori Gola village—in connection with the tragedy.
The suspects were charged with culpable homicide, murder bid and criminal conspiracy, besides other relevant sections of Indian Penal Code.
The post-mortem of four people—Jaswinder Singh, Kashmir Singh, Kirpal Singh and Jaswant Singh—will be conducted on Friday to ascertain the exact cause of the deaths.
Giving details of the case, DGP Punjab Dinkar Gupta said the first five deaths were reported from villages Mucchal and Tangra in PS Tarsikka in Amritsar Rural on the night of June 29.
On the evening of July 30, two more persons died in suspicious circumstances in Muchhal, while one person was hospitalised in critical condition and later succumbed at Sri Guru Ramdas Hospital, from where he was referred by Dr. Sarabjit Kaur Hospital, Tangra.
Later, two more deaths were from reported from village Mucchal, while another two people reportedly died in Batala city, also due to spurious liquor consumption.
Four more similarly suspicious deaths have also been reported from Tarn Taran.
The deceased have been identified as Mangal Singh, Balwinder Singh, Dalbir Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Kashmir Singh, Kaka Singh, Kirpal Singh, Jaswant Singh and Joga Singh all resident of village Muchhal, PS. Tarsikka, Amritsar Rural, Baldev Singh, resident of Tangra, PS.
Tarsikka, Amritsar-R. Other deceased are Buta Ram, Bhinda, Riku Singh, Kala, Kalu, Billa and Jatinder, all residents of City Batala.
Those who have died in Tarn Taran have been identified as Sahib Singh, Harban Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Dharam Singh.