Twenty two people have died so far after consuming illicit liquor in Aligarh, with five more persons succumbing on Saturday. However, locals say the number may rise further.
Aligarh police have registered three cases and arrested six persons in this case. Several officials including the district excise officer have been suspended.
The district administration has however said that all deaths are not related to spurious liquor but there are other reasons as well. The matter is under investigation.
Divisional Commissioner Gaurav Dayal said that there have been a total of 22 deaths so far due to the consumption of illicit alcohol in three police station areas of Aligarh.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)’s Public Relations Officer, Krishna Kumar Singh, said the police have registered three cases and arrested Anil Chaudhary, an accused in the liquor smuggling racket, and six people. Two main accused are still absconding on whom a reward of Rs 50,000 each has been announced.
Following the incident, the Uttar Pradesh government has suspended District Excise Officer Dheeraj Sharma, Excise Inspector Rajesh Yadav, Constable Ashok Kumar, Inspector Chandraprakash Yadav and Constable Ramraj Rana on charges of negligence.
A large number of people consumed country liquor on Thursday night across seven villages in Aligarh. As many as 17 people died on Friday while five people died on Saturday morning taking the toll to 22. The toll is likely to increase. The condition of many people admitted to the district hospital remains critical.
The people in Lodha, Khair and Jawan blocks of Aligarh bought country liquor from different liquor shops on Thursday evening and consumed it.
Sunil of Karsua village in Lodha block started vomiting at night. As a result his condition deteriorated and he was admitted to the district hospital where he died. Shortly afterwards several other people of the village started vomiting after consuming spurious liquor.
The district administration and excise department teams have sealed the liquor shops here. The villagers claim that death occurred due to consumption of spurious alcohol.
District Magistrate Chandrabhushan Singh has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the matter. Four liquor shops have been sealed. Till the investigation is over, all country liquor shops in the district will remain closed. Prima facie investigation reveals sale of spurious liquor from a government shop in which several government contractors are also involved. During a meeting, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed the Home and Excise Departments to carry out raids against illegal liquor trade within the next 48 hours.
The Chief Minister said strict action will be taken against all the accused. The National Security Act (NSA) will be used against the accused persons. If spurious liquor is purchased from a government liquor shop it would be immediately sealed. The property of the accused will be confiscated and auctioned and given as compensation for the kin of the deceased.