Kolkata: Seven persons were Thursday arrested
in connection with the hooch tragedy in South 24 Parganas district even as the West Bengal Government ordered a CID investigation into the incident.
Making a statement in the Assembly, Chief Minister Mamata
Banerjee said seven persons had been arrested on the basis of
preliminary administrative enquiry into the incident, but the
owner of the liquor den Badshah Khokon, named in the FIR, was
Investigation into the incident had been handed over to
the CID, she said.
Something toxic was mixed in the liquor, she said, adding
as per reports last received, 101 people had died and 80
bodies had been sent for post-mortem.
Banerjee said the state government had already announced
compensation of Rs two lakh for the families of the dead.
Trade in illicit liquor has been going on for a long
time in the state and it is a social problem, she said, and
added that the state government would help the traders if they
switched to other businesses like setting up tea or fruit
Banerjee said an all-party decision must be taken on the
steps required to end the menace of illicit liquor.
She said the government could have legalised the business
and earned revenue for the cash-strapped exchequer, but would
not do it. "Character cannot be bought with money," she said.
The chief minister suggested that the all-party meeting
be held on December 19 so that she could be present.
Speaker Biman Bandopadhyay agreed to the suggestion and
fixed the all-party meeting on that date.
While expressing satisfaction at the chief minister`s
statement, Rezzak Molla of the opposition CPI(M) said the
incident occurred under the very nose of the police.
The high toll could have been avoided if the medical
team had intervened in time, Molla said.
Banerjee asked Molla to find out through his party
network who the den owner Badshah Khokon was. The business in
illicit liquor was going on for a long time and it should not
get political support.