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CHANDIGARH: The spurious liquor, which claimed the lives of 20 individuals in Sangrur district was found to be Methanol - a fatal chemical used in industrial products, which was procured by the accused persons from a Noida-based factory meant for factory use, said Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Law and Order Gurinder Singh Dhillon, who is heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe this case.


          The ADGP accompanied by SSP Sangrur cum SIT member Sartaj Singh Chahal was addressing a press conference at Punjab Police Headquarters (PPHQ) here on Saturday.


          As per the information, the Sangrur Police have arrested two masterminds— identified as Gurlal Singh of village Ubhawal in Sangrur and Harmanpreet Singh of village Taipur in Patiala - among eight accused persons out of total 10 accused nominated in this case so far after registering three separate FIRs at Police Stations Dirba, City Sunam and Cheema. Both the masterminds have criminal history and they became known to each other while at Sangrur Jail.


          Other six arrested accused persons have been identified as Manpreet Singh alias Mani and Sukhwinder Singh alias Sukhi, both residents of village Gujjran in Dirba; Soma Kaur, Rahul alias Sanju and Pardeep Singh alias Babi, all residents of Chauwas in Cheema; Arshdeep Singh alias Arsh of village Rogla. Police teams have also recovered 200 litres of Methanol chemicals, empty liquor bottles, bottle caps and other equipments used for manufacturing and labelling spurious liquor from their possession.


          ADGP Gurinder Singh Dhillon said that accused Harmanpreet, after procuring Methanol chemical from Noida based factory, was preparing spurious liquor at his home and selling it after packing it in liquor bottle after putting the label of liquor brand “SHAHI”— written in Hindi. The accused prepared brand labels using a printer at home, while he had procured the bottle cap installation machine from Ludhiana.


          He said that the masterminds were using a local contact Manpreet Singh @ Mani (arrested) to sell the spurious liquor. “The accused was targeting labour class people to sell the spurious liquor at half the price,” he added.


          The ADGP said that the Police have papers regarding the procurement of this fatal chemical and Police have added Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to investigate the role of factories from where they procured the Methanol. The accused persons had procured a total of 300 litres of methanol chemical.


          The ADGP said that the Police have also invoked the stringent section 61-A of the Excise Act in all three FIRs. Section 61-A is punishable with imprisonment for life/ the death penalty, he added.


          He assured that the SIT will meticulously probe the case from all angles to take the investigation to the logical conclusion and a challan will be produced in the Court in a timely manner.


          Meanwhile, the SIT head appealed to residents of affected as well as nearby villages to refrain from consuming liquor purchased from unauthorised sources.



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