Government orders magisterial probe into Delhi hooch deaths

April 9th, 2009 - 10:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) The Delhi government Thursday ordered a magisterial inquiry into spurious liquor case and withdrew a brand of alcohol that has methyl alcohol in much higher content than permissible, an official statement said.
Finance Minister A.K. Walia said that Shokeen brand of liquor has been withdrawn in public interest with immediate effect.

“Bottles of contaminated liquor brand Shokeen were being sold in Delhi by a mafia of bootleggers. It was found that the methyl alcohol contents in this illicit liquor were much higher than the permissible limit which caused loss of lives,” said Walia.

At least 12 people have died in the past one week after consuming spurious liquor in Raghuvir Nagar and Vishnu Garden areas of west Delhi. People, however, said the death toll could be as high as 20.

The minister added that a magisterial enquiry will be conducted by the deputy commissioner (southwest).

The excise department Thursday collected a large number of samples from the country liquor vends in Delhi and checked them.

“All 87 samples collected were checked at Excise Control Laboratory and all the samples were found in order as per prescribed technical specification,” the statement added.

Walia said that the new Excise Bill, cleared by the union home ministry and the state assembly, will make sale of spurious liquor punishable by life imprisonment and death.

“An action plan to prevent sale of illicit liquor in Delhi has been almost finalised,” he said.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police’s crime branch conducted raids across capital to unearth the source of spurious liquor.

Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal Wednesday announced a reward of Rs. 100,000 for information leading to the source of illicit liquor.

The police have so far registered 12 cases and suspended 15 of its personnel, including the station house officer and two sub-inspectors of the Khyala police station.

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