Crucial arrest made in Punjab's hooch tragedy


Chandigarh, Aug 4 (IANS): In a major breakthrough in the hooch tragedy case, Punjab Police has arrested the Ludhiana paint store owner, allegedly responsible for triggering the chain of events that ultimately resulted in the death of 111 persons across three districts.

Rajeev Joshi, owner of Ludhiana Paint Store, was nabbed late on Monday evening, according to DGP Dinkar Gupta, who said the accused had disclosed that he supplied the three drums of methanol (methyl alcohol), which were used to make the spurious alcohol, to Prabhdeep Singh, nephew of Ravinder Anand of Moga who is further linked with accused Avtar Singh.

The police is tracking the leads given by Joshi, who was reportedly procuring various types of alcohol and spirits from various places in Punjab and Delhi.

With the arrest of Joshi and two other key players in the entire tragic saga, the number of arrests in the case has gone up to 40 -- 21 from Tarn Taran, 10 from Amritsar-Rural and nine from Batala.

The arrests followed 563 raids conducted in the three districts since July 31, under five FIRs registered in the case -- one in Batala, two in Amritsar and two in Tarn Taran.

The DGP said one absconding accused, identified as Dharminder of Hathi Gate, Batala, was arrested on Tuesday in the case related to the 13 deaths in Batala, and 50 litres of alcohol was seized from him.

In addition, acting on the directives of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the state police had launched a major state-wide crackdown on spurious liquor in the past 24 hours, leading to the arrest of 184 persons in 238 cases.

A total of 1,332 litres of liquor, 5,943 litres of illicit liquor, and 32,470 kgs of 'lahan' (raw material for making illicit liquor) has been recovered, along with eight working stills, in these state-wide raids conduced at various places.

The raids, personally supervised by senior officers, led to the arrest of the 184 accused involved in sale, procurement and manufacturing of illicit liquor.

 

  

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