A relative of the family of four, who died after consuming toddy (palm wine) at Sinhada village in Kawant taluka of Chhota Udepur district, succumbed while undergoing treatment on Thursday morning. All the five were shifted to a private hospital on Tuesday after they consumed the pesticide laced toddy, a fermented drink produced from the sap of a palm tree, consumption of which is common amongst the villagers.
Four members of the family — Devisinh Rathwa (45), his wife Derdhi (40) and sons Manish (20) and Suresh (17) — died Tuesday, while their relative Shanti Rathwa (50) who had come to visit the family from Rumadiya village was in a critical condition and was under treatment. She was said to have consumed the toddy in a smaller amount.
As per preliminary investigations by the police, the toddy was poisoned due to pesticides sprayed on the tree to keep honey bees away. The family sprayed pesticides on the tree to ward off honey bees as a hive was coming up. Subsequently, they had also tied the customary pot to the tree to extract the sap from the flower stump. However, it had rained and the pesticides may have washed down and gotten mixed with the sap collected in the pot. A case of accidental death has been registered at the Panvad police station.
“According to preliminary autopsy reports, the family died due to poisoning. We have also sent a sample of the toddy for FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) testing, results of which are awaited. There is no foul play suspected, but we are still investigating in all possible directions,” said investigating officer H N Gadhvi.
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