The death toll in the hooch tragedy has gone up to 16 with five more deaths reported on Wednesday.
The victims include Gurmej Masih, David Masih, a resident of Diwaniwal, Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Kutbi Nangal, Mushtak Masih, a resident of Johal Nangal, and Prem Kumar, a resident of Gandhi Camp, Batala.
One person, Kulwinder Singh of Shahbad, has been shifted to an Amritsar hospital. His condition is said to be critical.
Four persons, identified as Sulakhan Masih alias Bhutto, his brother Minda Masih, Balwant Singh and Kala Shah had died after consuming illicit liquor in Johal Nangal village under the Ghuman Kalan police station on Monday.
On Tuesday, seven more persons, including four from Johal Nangal and three from Baleywal village, died, taking the toll to 11.
The spurious liquor was being openly sold by three persons from Johal Nangal and Baleywal.
Gurdaspur deputy commissioner Abhinav Trikha said the Gurdaspur police had arrested the prime accused, Janak Masih, and the Batala police had arrested five liquor smugglers, all resident of Diwaniwal village, where two persons had lost their lives after consuming illicit liquor.
Talking to HT, Gurdaspur assistant excise and taxation commissioner PS Parmar said that in the last four months, the department had registered 18 cases in Shampura village and recovered 3,050 kg of lahan, 1.02 lakh ml of illicit liquor and another 2.62 lakh ml of alcohol.
He said that on Tuesday morning, a team of the excise department again raided Shampura and recovered 3,000 litres of lahan from a pond and later destroyed it.
Sukhbir marks probe to IG, assures action
Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the home portfolio, expressed concern over the deaths in a hooch tragedy in Johal Nangal village of Gurdaspur district and said that he had ordered the IGP (border range) to thoroughly probe the incident and submit a report to him.
Talking to mediapersons here on Wednesday, the deputy chief minister said that he had also ordered a statewide crackdown on the hooch mafia and nobody would be spared.
Political or police connections will not come in the way and the IGP has been told about this, he said.
Sukhbir said that one of the main commitments of the government was to check drug addiction by coming down heavily on narcotic smugglers. Likewise, those involved in illicit distillation of liquor will also not be spared. he added.
Regarding compensation to the families who had lost their near and dear ones in the hooch tragedy, he said, "I will have to check the rules first."