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Punjab hooch tragedy: Toll 112; 37 arrested; alcohol meant for hand sanitizer was diverted

Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal and AAP have alleged that some Congress leaders were running the liquor business in Punjab and they were patronised by the Captain Amarinder Singh Government which led to the spurious liquor tragedy claiming 112 lives.

CHANDIGARH, Aug 4: The toll in the hooch tragedy in Punjab has gone up to 112. The casualties were reported from Tarn Tarn, Gurdaspur and Amritsar.

It is said that the spurious liquor was manufactured by a Ludhiana-based paint shop owner, Rajesh Joshi, who is on the run.

Police have arrested 37 people, including seven excise officials. Six policemen, have been suspended. A compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the families of each of the victims of the tragedy has been announced by the Government.

One of those arrested is Moga-based hand sanitizer manufacturer Ravinder Singh. Uncontrolled supply of industrial alcohol during corona time to make hand sanitizer could possibly have been diverted to make cheap liquor.

The Government has claimed that it has unearthed an illicit liquor racket spread across several districts.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the Opposition Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab, demanded a CBI probe into the spurious liquor tragedy. He tweeted: "Saddened by the loss of lives in Punjab due to illicit liquor. The State Government needs to immediately take necessary steps to curb such mafias ... The case should be handed over to CBI immediately as none of the illicit liquor cases from the last few months have been solved by local police."

In response, Captain Amarinder Singh told Kejriwal, "Mind your business."

Meanwhile, it is learnt that industrial liquor was used in distilling the spurious liquor, mixing it with chemicals.

Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal and AAP have alleged that some Congress leaders were running the liquor business in the State and they were patronised by the State Government.

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