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Punjab

Hooch tragedy: Akali Dal asks Punjab CM to take resignation of Excise Minister

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | March 23, 2024 06:42 PM

CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday asked Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann why he had not taken the resignation of Excise Minister Harpal Cheema in the Sangrur liquor tragedy case nor registered a murder case against the perpetrators till now.

Addressing the media here, SAD Chief Spokesperson Arshdeep Singh Kler said the Chief Minister Mann was on record to have said at the time of the Tarn Taran hooch tragedy that the Excise Minister should resign immediately and that a murder case should be registered against the perpetrators.

“Forget taking these necessary actions, including the resignation of Excise Minister Harpal Cheema, the Chief Minister has not found the time to visit the 21 families whose near and dear ones have fallen victim to spurious liquor. It is condemnable that instead of comforting the victim families of his home district, the Chief Minister is busy indulging in a ‘tamasha’ in Delhi to please Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.”

Kler also questioned the manner in which the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government was trying to shield the company -- BCL, which victims said had supplied spurious liquor in the area.

“The police have removed the label of BCL from the bottle during official briefings indicating the closeness of this company, which was given a licence to produce ethanol in December 2022.”

Demanding a judicial probe into the entire case, the SAD leader said “this government cannot be trusted to take action against the liquor company.”

He also questioned the Chief Minister’s priorities. “It seems saving Kejriwal is more important for the Chief Minister and his ministerial colleagues than the welfare of Punjabis.”

He said despite the fact that the Supreme Court had made it clear that a Rs 338-crore liquor scam had occurred in Delhi, Mann was trying to defend the indefensible.

Kler said instead of doing this, the Chief Minister should explain why the Punjab government had followed the same excise policy as that of Delhi and given benefits to the same set of liquor contractors.

“It is clear that like in the case of Delhi, in Punjab also hundreds of crores were looted from the government treasury. This is the reason for the Chief Minister’s nervousness and why he is trying to make out a case of political vendetta even though this is a pure case of open and shut corruption, ” he added.

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