Madras HC pulls up DMK govt for negligence in Kallakurichi hooch tragedy

The court asked what measures have been taken to avoid hooch tragedies

Kallakurichi hooch tragedy Family members mourn the death of people who died after consuming toxic liquor at Kallakurichi, in Tamil Nadu, India | Reuters

The Madras High Court on Friday grilled the DMK dispensation in Tamil Nadu for inaction in the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy. Talking tough on the action taken by the government and the negligence of the officers, the court came down heavily stating similar incidents that happened last year in Villupuram and Chengalpattu.

A Division Bench of Justices D. Krishnakumar and K. Kumaresh Babu while hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by AIADMK advocate IS Inbadurai, seeking a CBI probe into the tragedy, asked tough questions to the state government. At least 49 people have died in Kallakurichi after consuming spurious liquor sold by the local bootleggers. The division bench ordered the government to file an action taken report and a counter affidavit by June 26.

Advocate General P.S. Raman who represented the state government informed the court that the investigation into the hooch deaths in Chengalpattu and Villupuram, which claimed 22 lives last year, was transferred to the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) and the culprits were booked under the Goondas Act. He also informed that disciplinary action was taken against the police personnel involved in the Villupuram and Chengalpattu cases. In the Kallakurichi tragedy, he said, the district magistrate, the additional director general of police and the SP in the Enforcement Bureau CID have been transferred and the district SP has been placed under suspension. “The government had appointed a one-man commission under retired high court judge B. Gokuldas to investigate the Kallakurichi incident and recommend preventive measures,” he informed the court. 

Directing the government to file a detailed report, the division bench said that the “incident cannot be taken lightly. All that we want to know is whether you have learnt a lesson, as there was an illicit arrack tragedy in 2023,” referring to the incidents in Villupuram and Chengalpattu. 

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