Hooch kills 12 in Punjab, two held (Third Lead)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

HOSHIARPUR/CHANDIGARH - At least 12 people were killed after consuming spurious country liquor in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district, police said Thursday. Two people have been arrested and a magisterial inquiry has been ordered.

The victims, including some from the same family, died after they consumed the illegally made country liquor late Wednesday at Kaalwan village in Dasuya sub-division of the district, 190 km from Chandigarh.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal Thursday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the hooch deaths.

The deputy chief minister asked Director General of Police (DGP) P.S. Gill to order an independent inquiry by the zonal inspector general of police. The report of the police inquiry has been sought within seven days.

Police officials said that over 10 other victims were still admitted to government hospitals in Tanda, Dasuya and Hoshiarpur in a serious condition.

Most of the victims were farm labourers and farmers from three villages - Kaalwan, Miyani and Giljian.

Police have arrested two people, Jaswant Singh and Kala, following the incident and raids were continuing at various places, including adjoining Gurdaspur district, to destroy illegally manufactured liquor.

The two were named by surviving victims of the hooch tragedy.

Badal also directed Gill to take immediate and effective steps to curb illicit distillation of liquor and its illegal sale, particularly in rural areas.

“We are conducting raids at various places to seize illegally prepared liquor,” Dasuya Deputy Superintendent of Police H.S. Sandhu told reporters.

Villagers told police that at least 5-6 people from the same area had died mysteriously in the last few days. The deaths were also suspected to have been caused by spurious liquor.

“We have brought the sale of illegal liquor to the notice of excise and police officials but no action was taken. We suffer a loss of over Rs.1 lakh daily owing to this illegal trade,” area liquor contractor K.D. Khosla said.

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