The Gujarat home department on Thursday transferred the superintendents of police of Botad and Ahmedabad and suspended six other cops following the death of 42 people after consumption of spurious liquor, an official said.
Primary investigations by the police have revealed that some small-time bootleggers of different villages in Botad district had made the spurious liquor by mixing water with methyl alcohol or methanol, a highly poisonous industrial solvent, and sold it to villagers for Rs 20 per pouch.
According to the police, forensic analysis established that the victims consumed methyl alcohol.
"We have transferred Botad SP Karanraj Vaghela and Ahmedabad SP Virendrasingh Yadav. Six other police officials, including two deputy SPs, have been placed under suspension," additional chief secretary, home, Raj Kumar, told PTI.
Those suspended are Ahmedabad's Dholka division Dy SP N V Patel, Botad Dy SP S K Trivedi, Ahmedabad's Dhandhuka police station inspector K P Jadeja, Dhandhuka division's circle police inspector S B Chaudhari and Botad sub-inspectors B G Vala and Shailendrasinh Rana.
These officials were suspended for "dereliction of duty and lack of commitment as they failed to stop the transportation, sale and consumption of liquor laced with poisonous chemicals in their respective areas," say the suspension letters issued by the state home department.
Forty two people from Botad and neighbouring Ahmedabad district have died so far after consuming the spurious liquor on July 25, while 97 people are still admitted to hospitals in Bhavnagar, Botad and Ahmedabad, Gujarat Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi said on Wednesday.
He said the police will file a charge sheet in 10 days to ensure quick justice and the government will also appoint a special public prosecutor to fight the case.
Fifteen key accused, including the one who acquired the chemical and those who sold the liquor to people, were already arrested, he had said.
The Botad and Ahmedabad police on Tuesday registered three First Information Reports (FIRs) against nearly 20 culprits under Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder), 328 (causing hurt by poison) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
Police investigation has revealed that a person named Jayesh aka Raju, who has been arrested, had stolen 600 litres of methyl alcohol from a godown in Ahmedabad where he worked as a manager and then sold it to his Botad-based cousin Sanjay for Rs 40,000 on July 25.
Despite knowing that it was an industrial solvent, Sanjay sold the chemical to local bootleggers of different villages of Botad. These bootleggers mixed water in the chemical and sold it to people as country-made liquor, the police had said.