At least five people, including a 60-year-old man, died and over 12 were admitted to hospital in Bulandshar’s Jeetgarhi village on Friday morning after they allegedly drank spurious liquor. One person has been arrested in this connection, while seven excise officials faced action and three policemen were suspended.
The police identified the deceased as Sukhpal (60), Kalua (40), Satish (35), Ranjeet and Pannalal.
“We have arrested the main accused, Kuldeep late on Friday evening. Raids are on to nab the other two,” Namrita Srivastava, Deputy SP (Sikandrabad) told The Indian Express on the phone.
The Sikandrabad police has booked two other people for selling “spurious liquor”. The Bulandshahr Excise Department, meanwhile, sealed a government-run country liquor shop in Madawara village following allegations that the same brand of liquor sold in Jeetgarhi was being sold there, said the police.
“The brand that claimed five lives in the district is called ‘Miss India’. It was being sold from Mandawara’s countrymade liquor shop, which has now been sealed,” Srivastava added.
“Four police teams have been formed to track down the accused. Directives have also been issued to register a case against the local distillery where the liquor was prepared. Announcements are also being made in villages near Jeetgarhi to identify those who might have consumed the liquor of the same make so that they can be provided timely medical treatment,” said Bulandshahr SSP Santosh Kumar Singh.
He added that three family members of the accused were taken into custody by the area police to force them to surrender.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed shock over the incident. He issued directives to the district administration to sternly deal with excise officials and policemen guilty of neglecting their duty that allowed the spurious liquor to be sold. He also asked senior district police officials to book the accused under the National Security Act (NSA).
Following the deaths, four UP Excise Department officials, including Joint Excise Commissioner (Meerut Zone) Rajesh Mani Tripathi, were attached to the UP Excise headquarters in Lucknow, while three excise sub-inspectors were said to be facing departmental inquiries and suspension. Three policemen, including the officer in charge of Sikandrabad police station, Dixit Kumar Tyagi, have been suspended with immediate effect by the Bulandshahr SSP on charges of dereliction of duty.
“My brother, Kalua, bought the liquor for Rs 80 on Thursday night. After consuming it, he went to sleep. Around midnight, he started vomiting and told us that he was suffering from severe stomach ache. We rushed him to the government hospital, where doctors declared him dead. The other victims also shared the same fate after consuming the spurious liquor, which is openly sold in the entire Bulandshahr district thanks to a deep nexus between excise officials and policemen,” said Anil, the brother of a victim.
“We have taken a serious note of laxity on part of our department officials in connection with the shocking incident. While action has immediately been taken against a few of them, others, if found guilty, will also not be spared,” said Sanjay R Bhoosreddy, Additional Chief Secretary, Excise and Cane Development.
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