Over 85 killed by bootleg alcohol in India's Punjab
The death toll in the Punjab spurious liquor tragedy rose to 86 on Saturday even as Chief Minister Amarinder Singh suspended seven excise officials and six policemen, officials said, report agencies and the Hindustan Times.
The government also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for each of the families of the deceased, they said.
The victims died in three districts of the northern state and police have arrested 10 people, the officials said.
Hundreds of people die every year in India from poisoned alcohol made in backstreet distilleries which sells for as little as 10 rupees (13 US cents) a litre.
Tarn Taran district alone accounted for 63 deaths, followed by 12 in Amritsar and 11 in Gurdaspur's Batala. Till Friday night, the state had reported 39 deaths in the tragedy unfolding since Wednesday night.
According to an official statement, the CM ordered the suspension of seven excise officials, along with six policemen.
Among the suspended officials are two deputy superintendents of police and four station house officers.
Strict action will be taken against any public servant or others found complicit in the case, said the Punjab chief minister, describing the police and excise department failure to check the manufacturing and sale of spurious liquor as shameful.
The Punjab state chief minister said Friday he had ordered a special inquiry into the deaths and "anyone found guilty will not be spared."
The Indian Express newspaper said one of the suspects had died in Amritsar district after consuming the illegal liquor and that his wife had been arrested for selling the alcohol.
The case came after authorities in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh said on Friday that nine people had died after drinking alcohol-based sanitiser.
The victims drank the sanitiser as a substitute for alcohol which has been restricted during a coronavirus lockdown in India.