Deve Gowda blames K'taka Gov for Hooch tragedy

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Bangalore, May 21 (UNI) Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) President H D Deve Gowda today blamed Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur for the Hooch tragedy, which claimed over 100 lives since May 18.

In a statement here, Mr Gowda alleged the sharp increase in the prices of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and rampant circulation of seconds liquor led to the flow of illicit brew which killed innocent people in the state.

Alleging that Excise Officials did not take any action against those who were responsible for diverting the spirit and methyl alcohol meant for industrial use for making illicit liquor, Mr Gowda charged that the Governor, instead of taking action against top Excise Officials for the lapses, was ''protecting'' them.

''The Governor has suspended few low-ranking Excise Officials but did not dare to touch higher officials in the Excise Department who have been appointed by Mr B S Yeddyurappa during his seven-days in office as Chief Minister,'' he alleged.

Demanding the Governor take firm stand against the Excise officials for their ''failure'' in containing the tragedy, Mr Gowda appealed for increase of ex-gratia amount to the next of kin of the deceased to Rs one lakh.

UNI MV MSP SJ SB DB2002

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