Thursday, January 20, 2022

Mind you own business, says Capt Amarinder to Kejriwal demand for handing over hooch deaths probe to CBI

In a scathing counter to Arvind Kejriwal’s demand for CBI probe into the hooch tragedy, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday asked his Delhi counterpart to mind his own business and not to exploit the tragic affair for reviving his defunct Aam Aadmi Party’s stake in the state.

Captain Amarinder ticked off the Delhi chief minister over the latter’s Twitter remark that the case should be handed over to CBI. “So many people have died and all you are interested in is making political meat from the incident. Don’t you have any shame?” asked the Chief Minister of Kejriwal, telling the latter to concentrate on maintaining law and order in his own state, which was notorious for the brazen manner in which criminals and gangs were roaming the streets without fear.

Trashing Kejriwal’s claim that “none of the illicit liquor cases from the last few months have been solved by local police,” the Punjab Chief Minister asked the AAP leader to verify his facts before shooting through his mouth. Citing the recent April 22 case of an illicit liquor factory being busted in District Khanna, Captain Amarinder pointed out that eight accused had been arrested and a manhunt had been launched for seven others who were absconding. In another case, the two kingpins behind an illicit liquor distillery operating in Patiala district were arrested on May 22 and June 13 this year, and on July 10, the challan had been filed in the court. Another case was similarly unearthed in May with the arrest of a mafia leader, against whom the police was waiting for chemical analysis report to move forward.

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Expressing full faith in the Punjab Police, which had shown exemplary speed to take quick action in all the recent illicit liquor cases, the Chief Minister said Kejriwal’s demand for CBI probe was nothing but a political gimmick aimed at regaining lost foothold for his party, which had completely lost ground in Punjab despite being the principal opposition party.

Captain Amarinder pointed out that despite the cases of targeted killings in Punjab being handed over the CBI, it was eventually the Punjab Police that had solved the same. Even in the sacrilege cases, the CBI failed to deliver and it is the Punjab Police which is unravelling the case and had made several interests, including of high-profile police officers. It was obvious that more than the CBI, it was in the interest of the local police to ensure that all criminal cases are solved expeditiously, he said.

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Rather than delay the investigation and allow the trail to go cold even in the present spurious liquor case by handing over the probe to CBI, he was more interested in ensuring swift action against all those whose greed had cost the state around 100 lives, Captain Amarinder added.

The Chief Minister asked Kejriwal to check out his facts before making unsubstantiated and wild allegations against his government, whose track record in curbing crime of all kinds was exemplary. “Why don’t you ask your Punjab unit for data and figures first and then comment on our working,” he told the Delhi Chief Minister.

Captain Amarinder also advised his Delhi counterpart to concentrate on his state’s horrendous Covid situation. “Rather than worrying about Punjab’s affairs, why don’t you take care of the health and lives of Delhiites”, the Chief Minister said, while wishing luck to Kejriwal in his fight against Covid.

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Pointing out that strict action was being taken against all those found guilty in any case of illicit brewing and smuggling, Captain Amarinder said that in this hooch tragedy, too, 30 persons had already been arrested under 5 FIRs registered in 3 districts. Moreover, 13 officials from the Police and Excise & Taxation departments had been suspended for negligence, while investigations were on to ascertain their complicity in the case, he said. A magisterial Commission of Inquiry had been set up with the mandate to submit its report within a month, he further pointed out, asking what was the need for CBI to take over the case when the local police was handling it so effectively.

In fact, said the Chief Minister, on his strict directives, a concerted campaign had been launched in the state by the police in January this year against smugglers of illicit liquor/spirit, many of whom were already in police net and facing action as per the law.

The Chief Minister said not only had he given the police force a free hand to take any action needed to control crime and maintain law & order in the state but had also made it clear to them that nobody found involved guilty in any case should be spared. In fact, he said he had specifically directed the police to crack down against public servants or any senior officers who were misusing their power and position to nurture or help criminals in any way.

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