Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal — whose Aam Aadmi Party is part of the opposition in Congress-ruled Punjab — has demanded a CBI investigation into the hooch tragedy in the state which has claimed 86 lives. “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,” he tweeted.
The deaths due to spurious liquor started on Wednesday across three districts of the state. Sixty-three of the deaths were reported from Tarn Taran district, 12 in Amritsar and 11 in Gurdaspur’s Batala. On Saturday, 48 more people died.
“Saddened by the loss of lives in Punjab due to illicit liquor. State govt needs to immediately take necessary steps to curb such mafias,” Mr Kejriwal tweeted.
Saddened by the loss of lives in Punjab due to illicit liquor. State govt 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
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 2, 2020
The state government has suspended seven officials from the excise department and six police officers.
Altogether, 25 people have been arrested amid demands for the resignation of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
Sukhbir Badal, the leader of the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal, called it “murder” perpetrated by the ministers and MLAs of the ruling Congress.
“The hooch tragedy is the direct and natural consequence of the patronage given to Congress leaders, including ministers and MLAs, for freely carrying out rampant illicit liquor trade in the state,” he said.
“It is a murder, pure and simple. All the guilty, including ministers and ruling party MLAs, be arrested,” he said.