Two men died after consuming spurious liquor at a licensed bar in a TASMAC outlet in Thanjavur. The administration came up with an official explanation that it was ‘cyanide’ poisoning.
According to our investigation both the deceased Kuppusamy and Vivek @ Kutty Vivek bought liquor at different times. Both were unconnected.
The new SP for Thanjavur Ashish Rawat joined in February this year. He was not the one to listen to political powers. He raided and shut down 22 illegal bars in Thanjavur. Only two licensed bars run in Thanjavur. Due to Rawat’s actions, Karur gang suffered a loss of 3 lakhs a month. They had to compensate. They started supplying their liquor 24 X 7 through the two licensed bars. It is one of these bars where two deaths occurred.
According to one piece of information, the liquor involved in Chengalpattu was not Methanol and might belong to the stocks of the Karur gang. This information is yet to be verified. But, the deaths of two in Thanjavur add credence to this theory.
The two deaths in Thanjavur due to spurious liquor is a classic example of how an incident should not be handled. The government’s first priority should be to ensure there is no panic. Details of the investigation should be released only in parts. It should be on a strictly need-to-know basis. No one is blaming the government that it is poisoning its citizens. But the issue should be probed thoroughly before any bit of information is revealed to the public.
Let us assume it is a case of cyanide poisoning. There are various aspects to this. How the cyanide came in a TASMAC product? How do two people who are totally unconnected consume poisoned liquor from an outlet? If it is cyanide, what is the motive? Who were the targets? How the poisonous liquor found its place in an illegal TASMAC bar?
Further, the cyanide theory defies logic. Cyanide causes instant death. Cyanide breaks the electron transport chain and causes coma followed by cardiac arrest and death. Kuppusamy after consuming the supposedly cyanide-laced liquor walked up to the market and died on his way to the hospital. Vivek swooned outside the bar and died after being admitted to Thanjavur Medical College hospital.
The government should be in possession of all this information before it goes to town tom-toming its investigative prowess.
But, here is a DGP, who leaks out information which sets panic among tipplers. TASMAC customers will certainly feel scared to consume its products. Sales will certainly dip. Other states’ alcohol will be preferred. Army supplies will command a premium. It will take quite some time for the dust to settle and sales to reach normal again.
Stalin has another headache to handle. Now there is a demand for a solatium of 20 lakhs and a government job from the victims of spurious liquor. Stalin’s knee-jerk reaction to the hooch deaths in Marakkanam and Chengalpattu has created this new mess.
His officers are letting him down. His officers made a mess of the Hooch tragedy too. HoPF Sylendra Babu, in anxiety to hide his inefficiency, gave out false data which further pushed the government into severe embarrassment. Yet Stalin did not crack the whip.
Immediately after the hooch tragedy, it was flagged by us and several others about the scam that is going on in TASMAC and how that is directly reflected in the hooch sales and deaths. The steady increase in the seizure of illicit liquor reflects that there is a heavy dip in the sales of TASMAC which no one is bothered about.
For reasons that are not clear, Stalin allows Senthil Balaji a free run. Senthil Balaji is earning a bad name every day for the government and the party has lost the entire vote of TASMAC employees and their families. Most of them were DMK supporters. The threats faced by the TASMAC employees and their pitiable working conditions and the large-scale scam were repeatedly pointed out in public fora.
We have multiple times cautioned TN CM that most of the officers in crucial positions are on the payroll of Senthil Balaji. We have also warned that the entire intelligence wing is in the pay-roll of the CM aspirant, but to no avail. The free run given to Senthil Balaji has resulted in the continuous loss of innocent lives.
What was the crime of those deceased consuming spurious liquor? They wanted to get high after a day’s hard work. Do they deserve to be killed? Should not someone take responsibility for these deaths? If Stalin is not even ready to change the portfolio of Senthil Balaji, then he is unfit to govern and should step down immediately. The state cannot bear the cost of his ineptness.
Even after fiasco after fiasco, Stalin cannot identify the root of the issues ailing his government. He has become a YesMan in the hands of a select few officers, and a couple of greedy power centres. None of the decisions he takes are independent free of external influence. Be it the postings of IAS & IPS officers, policy decisions or the introduction of new Laws, he just signs on the dotted line.
Such a situation does not behove well for a vibrant state like Tamil Nadu. The indiscipline that has bred in TN’s force can be seen from the way they handled the hooch tragedy. An accused who is directly involved in the hooch deaths is issued a cheque for 50,000 as solatium !!! Heads should have rolled. But, nothing of that sort happened here.
Stalin is not able to even ponder whether Senthil Balaji’s portfolios could be changed. He is too timid to tame him. He has grown into a monster threatening the party today, but Stalin is scared to upset the equation. The moot question in the Thanjavur deaths is why did the licensed bar sell liquor at non-permitted hours? Why were the officers turning Nelson’s eye to such illegal sales? What is the action taken about the 4000 and odd illegal bars running across the sales which function as franchises for the “Karur Gang”? What is the guarantee that there won’t be further deaths due to the spurious liquor supplied by the Karur gang?
There is no review, no assessment, no analysis and of course no planning. The government is functioning in a reactionary mode and has become very brittle. It cannot handle even a minor crisis. With such a weak and confused leadership, Tamil Nadu is damaging itself as days go by.
Only a change of guard can save the day.