With the death of six more textile workers, mostly migrant labourers, who consumed suspected spurious liquor or hooch at Vareli village in Palsana taluka of Gujarat’s Surat district, the toll went up to 15 on Saturday. This is the second such incident in a fortnight in Surat, police said. At least six police inspectors, posted in the Surat rural area, were transferred in the aftermath of the incident, they added.
At least six more persons of Vareli village in Palsana tehsil have been admitted to hospitals, said District Development Officer and Collector (in-charge) K Rajesh, adding that a team of medical officers was camping at the village and had set up a control room to provide medical assistance to the villagers.
While nine died afer consuming spurious country-made liquor in the last few days, six more people who were undergoing treatment in government hospital died Saturday. Their viscera samples have been sent for forensic analysis. All the victims are migrants who work in powerloom factories or embroidery units in Vareli.
Surat District Superintendent of Police Mayur Chavda said, “We have started carrying out raids on liquor dens. The death toll has reached up to 15 and at present we are considering all these deaths as unnatural and await FSL report. Once we get the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) reports, we will register offence. As of now, we have registered cases under accidental death.”
In the first incident, the Surat city police lodged a case of culpable homicide after two diamond factory workers — Praveen Kurad (30) and Govind Reddy (40), both friends and residents of Ram Rajya Society in Kapodara area — succumbed to suspected hooch on August 29-30.
Police said that both of them had consumed spurious liquor on August 29. After they started vomiting and developed complications in the night, they were rushed to Diamond hospital in Varachha area for treatment.
While undergoing treatment, Praveen died on the night of August 29. Reddy died the next morning. The hospital authorities informed about the deaths to the police. Police sent the bodies for post-mortem to SMIMER hospital and sent the blood and viscera samples to FSL the next day to find out the cause of death.
On Saturday, the Kapodara police got the FSL report which showed traces of methyl alcohol. Kapodara police Saturday lodged complaint against unidentified persons and have started probe. Talking to The Sunday Express, Kapodara police inspector B S Mori said, “Both the deceased were habitual drinkers. Their family members had lodged the complaints and they don’t know from where they had consumed the spurious liquor. Further probe is under way and efforts are on to nab the bootleggers.”
Government forms 3-member probe panel
A three-member high-level committee, headed by an IPS officer, has been formed by the Gujarat government Saturday to investigate the death of about 15 persons who have died in Surat district between September 4-10. The committee has been directed to submit a report within three days. The committee will be headed by Additional Director General of Police V M Parghi. It will have B K Kumar, the director of prohibition and excise, and MS Dahiya, deputy director of Directorate of Forensic Science, as its members. State Minister for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja has said that the viscera and blood samples of the deceased have been sent to Surat’s FSL.