Even as at least 21 persons died due to alleged consumption of spurious liquor in Amritsar, Batala and Tarn Taran districts of Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered a magisterial inquiry led by the Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner into the matter.
Five more deaths were reported on Friday in Batala. One person was admitted in hospital in a critical condition.
Four more deaths have also been reported from Tarn Taran.
The inquiry panel will look into the facts and circumstances leading to the tragedy as well as into any other connected issue(s) or relevant to the incident(s) and the circumstances leading to it, an official statement said.
The Divisional Commissioner of Jalandhar will inquire into the tragedy along with the Joint Excise and Taxation Commissioner and SPs (Investigation) of the districts concerned, an official spokesperson said.
The Chief Minister has given Commission the liberty to co-opt any civil or police officer or any expert to facilitate the expeditious conduct of the inquiry. He promised strict action against anyone found guilty in the case.
Taking serious note, Amarinder Singh also directed the police to launch a search operation to crack down on spurious liquor manufacturing units operating in the state. Police has arrested Balwinder Kaur in Tarsikka village in Amritsar district with regard to the hooch tragedy.
Further investigations are in progress under the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by SSP Amritsar-Rural, from where the first cases were reported.
The post-mortems of four victims -- Jaswinder Singh, Kashmir Singh, Kirpal Singh and Jaswant Singh -- will be conducted to ascertain the exact cause of the deaths. Giving details of the case, Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said the first five deaths were reported from Mucchal and Tangra villages in Amritsar Rural area on the night of June 29.
On July 30 evening, two more persons died in suspicious circumstances in Muchhal, while one person was hospitalised in a critical condition but later succumbed at Sri Guru Ramdas Hospital, from where he was referred by Dr Sarabjit Kaur Hospital in Tangra.
Later, two more deaths were from reported from Mucchal, while another two persons reportedly died in Batala city, also due to spurious liquor consumption. With five more persons succumbing in Batala on Friday, the toll in the city climbed to seven. One person has been referred to the Civil Hospital in Batala in a critical condition.