Punjab Police arrest 17 more in Hooch tragedy, total arrests now 25
Chandigarh, August 1, 2020 :
As the death toll in the hooch tragedy rose to 80, the Punjab Police on Saturday arrested 17 more persons in a massive crackdown spanning more than 100 raids in the three affected districts of Amritsar Rural, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran, along with several other places in and around Rajpura and Shambhu border. The total number of arrests in the case has gone up to 25.
A mafia mastermind, a woman kingpin, a transport owner, a wanted criminal and owners/managers of various dhabas from where the illicit liquor was being supplied are among the arrested accused, disclosed DGP Dinkar Gupta.
The raiding parties have also seized large quantities of Lahan from various villages and dhabas in the region around Shambhu border, Rajpura and Patiala, he said, adding that the raids had exposed a massive racket in illicit liquor, extending across several districts. The dhabas, identified as Zilmil Dhaba, Green Dhaba, Chhinda Dhaba on Shambhu, and Banur and Rajpura in Patiala, have been sealed.
As much as 750 litres of Lahan had been seized from village Baghaura from where two persons, Satnam and Rashem, had been arrested while another, identified as Lakhwinder, had been identified as a culprit.
Kingpin Darshan Rani @ Faujan was arrested by Batala Police, while another key accused Beeri, of village Deo, PS Sadar Tarn Taran, has also been arrested for supplying the spurious alcohol.
Prem Singh, the owner of Azad Transport, and Bhinda (wanted by Tarn Taran Police) were arrested by Rajpura police in raids conducted today.
According to the DGP, raids were conducted at the house of Rupinder Singh @ Bittu s/o Gurmail Singh r/o Thuha but he had not been there for the past many days. Bittu is a friend of Hardeep Singh @ Goldy @ Kachhu, arrested by CIA Jalandhar Rural recently, and Kachhu's Scorpio vehicle was recovered from Bittu's residence.
In the raid at Jhilmil dhaba, whose manager Narinder Singh have been arrested, 200 liters of Lahan was seized. The dhaba owner Harjit Singh has been named in the FIR.
At Green Dhaba, Rajpura Chandigarh Road PS Zirakpur, approximately 200 liters of Diesel like liquid was recovered in 4/5 small containers, which truck drivers were selling to the dhaba owner. The dhaba has also been sealed and its owner Gurjant Singh has been arrested.
One Narinder Singh, the owner of Multani Dhaba, has also been arrested in the case, said the DGP.
Another 150 litres of Lahan was recovered from one Parminder Singh and 200 liters from Baljit Singh. Both these men have also been arrested.
One of the key arrested accused who was bringing spurious liquor from Tarn Taran to Amritsar Rural area has been identified as Govinderbir Singh @ Gobinda s/o Gurmit Singh r/o Jandiala City, PS Jandiala. He was the main mastermind of the mafia in Amritsar Rural District.
Describing the modus operandi of the accused, the DGP said the trucks carrying spirit would be stopped at 6-7 identified Dhaba and the Dhaba owners collected the hooch from truck drivers and sold it to one Bhinda, r/o Pipla road, Rajpura, who was also accused in Rajpura factory case and Bittu of a village near Banur. The spirit was being supplied by these people
to Amritsar and surrounding areas.
Raids were continuing, with SSP Patiala camping at Rajpura for personally supervising the raids and rounding up the culprits, the DGP said, adding that efforts were on to smash the completely supply chain of the spurious alcohol.
Meanwhile, one Gurpal Singh s/o Buta Singh r/o Village Dhotian, PS Sarhali District Tarn Taran, who was arrested on 09.07.2020 for smuggling of spirit in Phillaur, is being brought on production warrant for further identification of the persons involved in this racket. He was arrested with 4000 Ltsrs chemical/spirit in PS Phillaur Police area.
According to the Excise Commissioner, though reports of the chemical analysis of the material seized in yesterday’s raids were yet to come, a superficial check showed that the material was Denatured Spirit, generally used in paint/hardware industry.