Hooch deaths: High court seeks reply on plea from Haryana, Punjab, CBI
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday asked Punjab, Haryana and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to respond to a plea by an NGO seeking probe in deaths due to consumption of illicit liquor in both the states. The petition has been filed by a Haryana-based NGO Sabka Mangal Ho.
The high court bench of justice SN Satyanarayana and justice Archna Puri has sought a response by January 10. The petitioner has also demanded a probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The petition mainly talks about instances of alleged illicit liquor business in Haryana but says it has inter-state ramifications. The Haryana government had assured a probe by the State Vigilance Bureau in each district on the basis of recommendations given by a Special Enquiry Team (SET). However, not even a single FIR has been registered, the court was told.
“The offences of institutionalised form of corruption and money laundering have inter-state ramifications. Repeated complaints and reminders to the ED and Vigilance Bureau but no action was taken,” their counsel Pardeep Rapria said, adding that the SET probe had raised several questions on the conduct of officials of the excise department as well as police officers.
The plea claims the SET report said “huge unauthorised movement of liquor stocks across the state during Covid-19 lockdown period”. “Recently, several people had died in Sonepat and Panipat. Failure of the state government to take criminal action on SET Report encouraged anti-social elements to supply illicit liquor resulting into more than 30 deaths recently,” Rapria had alleged before the court.