Gujarat hooch tragedy: 2 SPs transferred, six other cops suspended

Three First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered against nearly 20 culprits under Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder), 328 (causing hurt by poison) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

Darshan DesaiUpdated: Thursday, July 28, 2022, 10:13 PM IST
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Gujarat hooch tragedy: 2 SPs transferred, six other cops suspended | ANI Photo

Ahmedabad: Driven to the wall by the Sunday night’s hooch tragedy that has already claimed 42 lives, the Gujarat Government on Thursday transferred the District Superintendents of Police (DSP) of Botad and Ahmedabad and suspended six other officials, even as the cops maintained that villagers were given water laced with methyl alcohol in the name of liquor.

As many as 86 others, who had consumed the spurious liquor, were still undergoing treatment at hospitals in Bhavnagar, Botad and Ahmedabad, while 13 others were discharged on Thursday. Fourteen patients who had escaped from the Bhavnagar civil hospital were still untraceable.

The investigating police officers maintained that some small-time bootleggers, who are largely carriers or peddlers, from different villages in Botad district had made the poisonous brew by lacing water with methyl alcohol or methanol, a hazardous industrial solvent, and sold polythene pouches for Rs 20 a pack.

The police stated that even the forensic science laboratory analysis confirmed that the victims had consumed methyl alcohol.

Gujarat’s Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Raj Kumar told mediapersons, “We have transferred Botad SP Karanraj Vaghela and Ahmedabad SP Virendrasingh Yadav. Six other police officials, including two Deputy SPs, have been placed under suspension."

The suspended officials include Ahmedabad’s Dholka division DySP N V Patel, Botad DySP S K Trivedi, Ahmedabad’s Dhandhuka police station inspector K P Jadeja, Dhandhuka division’s circle police inspector S B Chaudhari and Botad sub-inspectors B G Vala and Shailendrasinh Rana.

According to the suspension letters issued to them by the State Home Department, the action against the officials is for “dereliction of duty and lack of commitment as they failed to stop the transportation, sale and consumption of liquor laced with poisonous chemicals in their respective areas."

Earlier on Wednesday, Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi said the police would file a chargesheet in 10 days to ensure quick justice and the government will also appoint a Special Public Prosecutor to fight the case. Fifteen key accused persons, including the one who acquired the chemical and those who sold the liquor to people, were already arrested.

Three First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered against nearly 20 culprits under Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder), 328 (causing hurt by poison) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy). Police investigation has revealed that a person named Jayesh aka Raju, who has been arrested, had stolen 600 litres of methyl alcohol from a godown in Ahmedabad where he worked as a manager and then sold it to his Botad-based cousin Sanjay for Rs 40,000 on July 25.

Despite knowing that it was an industrial solvent, Sanjay sold the chemical to local bootleggers of different villages of Botad. These bootleggers mixed water in the chemical and sold it to people as country-made liquor, police had said.

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