Chandigarh: The death toll in the Punjab spurious liquor tragedy rose to 86 on Saturday. 63 of the deaths were reported from Tarn Taran district, 12 in Amritsar and 11 in Gurdaspur's Batala since Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal's Sukhbir Singh Badal has demanded Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's resignation owning the moral responsibility for this "horrendous crime". He alleged that the tragedy is a result of the Congress-led government's patronage to its leaders, ministers and MLAs for allegedly carrying out illegal liquor trade.
Badal said, "It is a murder, pure and simple. All the guilty, including ministers and ruling party MLAs, be arrested."
Here is what we know so far:
1. The Punjab Police has so far arrested a total of 25 people in over 100 raids from different parts of the state.
2. An excise official said though reports of the chemical analysis of the material seized in police raids are yet to arrive, a superficial check showed that the material was denatured spirit, generally used in the paint or hardware industry.
3. Director-General of Police Dinkar Gupta in a statement said the raiding parties seized large quantities of 'lahan' (raw material for making liquor) from various villages and 'dhabas' in the region around the Shambhu border, Rajpura and Patiala.
4. The raids have exposed a massive liquor racket, extending across several districts, Gupta said, adding that several dhabas at Shambhu, Banur and Rajpura of Patiala have been sealed.
5. A key accused in the case - Darshan Rani alias Faujan - has been arrested by the Batala Police. Another accused, Beeri of Deo village, was arrested by the Tarn Taran Sadar police for supplying spurious alcohol, the DGP said.
6. One of the key arrested accused who was bringing spurious liquor from Tarn Taran to Amritsar has been identified as Govinderbir Singh, alias Gobinda, of Jandiala City. He was the main mastermind in Amritsar district, said police.
7. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has announced Rs 2 lakh compensation each to the families of the deceased.
(With input from Agencies)