Punjab Police has arrested a Ludhiana-based paint store owner, Rajesh Joshi, allegedly responsible for manufacturing spurious liquor that claimed at least 112 lives in three districts of the state.
Joshi, who was arrested on August 3, revealed that he supplied three drums of methanol, used to make the spurious methanol-based alcohol.
The tragedy was first reported from three districts of the state including Tarn Taran, Batala and Amritsar. More than 100 raids were conducted in the three districts, including places in the Rajpura and Shambhu border.
The number of arrests in the case have gone up to 40. At least 563 raids were conducted in the three districts in the state since July 31.
The DGP said that one accused on the run, identified as Dharminder, was arrested on August 4 in the case related to the 13 deaths in Batala. The DGP also said that 50 litres of alcohol was seized from him.
In addition, the State Police had launched a major state-wide crackdown on spurious liquor in the past 24 hours.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has directed the DGP not to spare anyone who is involved in the spurious liquor trade in the state.
According to the DGP, the arrest of Joshi and other criminals, has led the police to identify some key people involved in the manufacture and distribution of spurious liquor.
Methanol or methyl alcohol poisoning has been behind most of the hooch tragedies in India, including the recent one in Assam (168 deaths), Uttar Pradesh (97 deaths) and Uttarakhand (30 deaths) in February 2020. Similar unfortunate tragedies had earlier led to 167 deaths in Mumbai in June 2015 and in Bihar in August 2016.