A court in Tarn Taran has granted bail to a Ludhiana-based businessman, one of the main accused in Punjab’s worst-ever hooch tragedy that claimed nearly 140 lives last year, as the special investigation team (SIT) could not find any substantial evidence against him in its probe that was completed a few months ago.
Rajeev Joshi (51), owner of RC Joshi and Company, Ludhiana, was arrested by the police for allegedly supplying two drums of methyl alcohol to Ravinder Singh, alias Pinka of Moga, also an accused.
The police had said the methyl alcohol was further used for preparing spurious illicit liquor.
Two SITs were formed to investigate the case — one under the supervision of deputy inspector general (DIG Ferozepur range) Hardial Singh Mann, and the other headed by inspector general (IG Amritsar border range) SPS Parmar. The Mann-led SIT investigated the cases registered in Tarn Taran.
Earlier, during the case hearing, Joshi’s counsel AK Vermani said his client was falsely implicated in the case. It was Joshi’s second bail application. Earlier, his first bail plea was rejected by court considering “seriousness” of the case.
Dozens of people had also lost vision after consuming the spurious illicit liquor in Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts in July and August last year. Nearly 100 of the total deaths were reported in Tarn Taran district alone.
A case under sections 302 (murder), 304 (death by negligence), 307 (attempt to murder), 328 (hurt by poison), 326 (grievous hurt), 272 (adulteration), 109 (abetment), 114 (abettor), 201 (disappearing evidence) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, and sections of the Excise Act was registered at the Tarn Taran police station initially.
Joshi and some other persons were named in the case later on.