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Punjab CM Urges Not To Politicise Hooch Tragedy As Opposition Demands His Resignation

As the death toll in Punjab hooch tragedy mounted to 86 on Saturday, Punjab Police arrested 17 more people on Saturday taking the total count of arrests to 25.

Punjab

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, blaming the Congress-led government for the Punjab hooch tragedy which claimed 86 lives. He alleged that the tragedy is the consequence of the Congress leaders, ministers, and MLAs associated with activities of the illegal liquor trade. The chief minister has ordered a ministerial probe into the matter, however, Shiromani Akali Dal has demanded a judicial probe by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana Court.

The chief minister in response has asked Badal not to politicise the tragedy adding that such mishaps had occurred during the SAD-BJP government as well while recalling similar tragedies in 2012 and 2016 in Gurdaspur and Batala.

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Over 100 raids and 25 arrests

As the death toll in Punjab hooch liquor tragedy mounted to 86 on Saturday, the Punjab Police arrested 17 more people on Saturday taking the total count of arrests to 25 after conducting more than 100 raids as it launched a massive crackdown to nab the culprits.

Captain Amarinder Singh announced Rs 2 lakh compensation each to the families of the deceased in the hooch tragedy. Seven excise and six police officials have been suspended.

Among the suspensions include Excise & Taxation Officers (ETOs), Lovejinder Brar from Gurdaspur, BS Chahal from Amritsar and Madhur Bhatia from Tarn Taran. The Excise & Taxation Inspectors (ETIs) who have been suspended with immediate effect are Ravi Kumar (Gurdaspur), Gurdeep Singh (Amritsar) and Pukhraj from Fatehabad and Hitesh Prabhakar from City Tarn Taran in district Tarn Taran. 

Most of the deceased are from Tarn Taran, which accounts for 63 deaths, followed by Amritsar Rural at 12 and Gurdaspur (Batala) at 11

The raiding parties have seized large quantities of "lahan", the raw material for making liquor, from various villages, dhabas or roadside eateries in the region around the Shambhu border, Rajpura and Patiala.

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