2 SITs formed to fast track hooch tragedy investigation

DW BUREAU / Chandigarh Punjab Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta on Wednesday ordered the constitution of two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) to fast-track investigations in all the FIRs registered in the hooch tragedy that claimed 113 lives. Additional Director General of Police (Law & Order) Ishwar Singh will supervise both the SIT investigations, according to an official statement issued here on Wednesday. Punjab Police had registered a total of five FIRs -- three in Tarn Taran and one each in Amritsar and Gurdaspur's Batala -- in the case. Gupta said superintendent of police-level officers have, for the first time, been nominated as Investigating Officers (IOs) for these cases to ensure conviction of the offenders. The IOs have been directed by the DGP to ensure thorough and comprehensive investigations to unravel the entire backward and forward linkages of the case, both inside and outside the state of Punjab, under the supervision of the SIT. The IOs shall also be responsible for filing final reports in the concerned courts under their own signatures expeditiously, said the DGP. While Deputy Inspector General (Ferozepur Range) Hardial Singh Mann will head the SIT for investigating FIRs registered in Tarn Taran, Inspector General (Border Range Amritsar) Surinder Pal Singh Parmar would be leading the SIT investigating the FIRs registered in Amritsar and Batala, the statement said. The other members of the Taran Taran SIT are Senior Superintendent of Police Tarn Taran, Dhruman Nimbale, along with SP (Investigation) Tarn Taran, Jagjit Singh Walia, who has been nominated as Investigating Officer. SSP Amritsar (Rural) Dhruv Dahiya, SP Gaurav Toora along with SSP Batala Rachpal Singh and SP Tejbir Singh are members of the second SIT, it said.  The chairmen of the SITs have been authorized to seek and obtain the support and assistance of any officer or Wing or Unit of Punjab Police, according to the statement. They can also seek support of any department of the Punjab government, any specialized institutions, labs or experts for ensuring proper recording of evidence and making out a foolproof case to secure conviction of the guilty, it said. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday directed the state police chief to book those directly involved in the hooch tragedy that has claimed 113 lives, for murder. Promising justice for the victims of the case, which he termed as the biggest tragedy of recent times, the chief minister asserted that he will not tolerate any political interference in the case. Singh also mooted enhancement of punishment for spurious or illicit liquor manufacturing and smuggling under the Excise Act, to ensure repeat offenders remain behind the bars and are not able to come out easily to indulge again in the crime. During the Cabinet meeting, several ministers agreed to Advocate General Atul Nanda's suggestion that a strict law like Punjab Control of Organised Crime Act (PCOCA) was needed to combat organised crime like illicit liquor smuggling. The Chief Minister asked the sub-committee, set up under minister Brahm Mohindra, to examine the provisions of the proposed law, to finalise and submit its report at the earliest. He agreed with Sukhjinder Randhawa and other ministers that Punjab Control of Organised Crime Act (PCOCA) could help control hardcore criminals and act as a deterrent to gangsters, who continue to deal in organised crime even from prison, and had close connections with terrorists too, according to a government release here. The Chief Minister's directives on the hooch tragedy came during two separate video conferences. (editor@dailyworld.in)


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