(SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal and BJP leader Manoranjan Kalia urge Governor to recommend HC or CBI inquiry into hooch tragedy)
(Demands ED probe to recover ill gotten wealth from Congmen and confiscation of properties of all those involved in illicit liquor trade)
(Delegation calls for murder charge against all Congmen named by victim families including Cong MLA Ramanjit Sikki)
(Demands action against distilleries of Cong associates responsible for illegal release of denatured spirit)
(Hooch tragedy victim family members accompany delegation, say police not moving against Sikki. Say family being denied compensation because of complaint against Cong mla)
(Sukhbir S Badal tells newsmen Sunil Jakhar and Rahul Gandhi were quiet because monthlies from the illicit liquor trade were going directly to the Congress high command. Castigates CM for refusing to meet victim families)
Chandigarh, August 6 – A joint delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today urged Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore to dismiss the Capt Amarinder Singh led Congress government and recommend an inquiry by a sitting judge of the high court or the CBI into the hooch tragedy besides an Enforcement Directorate probe to recover the ill gotten wealth acquired by Congress leaders from illicit liquor trade.
The SAD-BJP delegation , which was led by SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal and BJP leader Mr Manoranjan Kalia, also urged the Governor to direct confiscation of properties of all those involved in the illicit liquor trade, however big they may be besides stopping smuggling of denatured spirit and extra neutral alcohol (ENA) from distilleries. It also demanded that murder cases be registered against all those named by the victim families particularly Khadoor Sahib Legislator Ramanjit Singh Sikki. It also urged that all 118 victim families as well as those who were severely affected after imbibing spurious liquor be rehabilitated.
The joint delegation which was accompanied by a victim family, while handing over a memorandum to the Governor, said the hooch tragedy was the direct result of State patronage and this was why people across three districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur were affected by the same lot of contaminated liquor. The delegation said this level of distribution had happened due to the nexus established between Congress leaders and legislators, police and excise officials. Tragedy victim family member Kamajit Kaur told the Governor that she was being threatened ever since she recorded a complaint against the Khadoor Sahib MLA. She said she was even being denied the Rs two lakh compensation for the death of two family members which had been given to other victim families.
Meanwhile stating that chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to perform his duty as the Excise and Home minister; Mr Sukhbir Badal told the Governor said no action was taken after two illegal distilleries cum bottling plants were unearthed at Rajpura and Khanna. He said no action was taken against two Congress legislators Madan Lal Jalalpur and Hardyal Singh Kamboj despite the fact that they were accused of patronizing the main culprits. He said the government had also denied access of the case files to the ED despite repeated requests indicating that it did not want the money trail in the case to the exposed.
The delegation said action should be taken against two distilleries run by Congress associates including that of the family of the chief minister’s Religious Advisor Paramjit Sarna and legislator Rana Gurjit Singh who were being accused of indulging in liquor smuggling and release of ENA and denatured spirit into the market illegally. It said denatured spirit was behind the hooch tragedy. It said earlier also truck loads of illicit liquor were seized from the premises of the Sarna family’s sugar mill but no action had been taken in the matter.
Both Mr Sukhbir Badal and Mr Ashwani Sharma said attempts were being made to divert attention from the role of distilleries in the hooch tragedy by conducting raids against bootleggers making country liquor despite knowing that it was denatured spirit procured from distilleries which was behind the 118 deaths. He said the excise and police department had seized lakhs of liters of ‘lahan’ used to make country liquor which itself raised questions why it had not done any such raids in the last three and a half years.
Stating that the illicit liquor trade had already caused a loss of Rs 5,600 crore to the State treasury, the delegation said the former chief secretary had also accused ministers of causing a massive loss to the treasury before there was a compromise between the two. It said the night curfew during the extended lockdown in Punjab was also used to transport illicit liquor freely from one place to another.
Other members of the delegation included Mr Balwinder Singh Bhundur, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Hira Singh Gabria, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Manjinder Singh Sirsa. EOM
SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal also took on Pradesh Congress President Sunil Jakhar and former Congress President Rahul Gandhi while speaking to newsmen outside the Raj Bhawan. He said Mr Sunil Jakhar and Rahul Gandhi were mum about the tragedy because monthlies from the illicit liquor trade were going right up to the Congress high command. He also castigated chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh for failing to reach out to the victim families by refusing to share their grief by visiting them. EOM