Congress demands minister's resignation, arrest of officials

Congress demands minister's resignation, arrest of officials

Intensifying demand for resignation of Odisha's Health minister over the recent hooch tragedy which claimed 40 lives, Opposition Congress today sought arrest of senior officials responsible for the situation.

The issue was raised in the Assembly during zero hour by the leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh who demanded a statement from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the matter.

"The House must be informed by the chief minister as to why the Health minister and his department is not responsible for the death of 40 people in the hooch tragedy," Singh said.
Stating that preliminary inquiry by the Commissioner of police showed the people died of consumption of hooch containing medicine, Singh alleged that the chief minister was protecting the Health minister while the then Excise minister A U Singhdeo had resigned on moral ground.

"The Commissioner of police and the District Collector (Cuttack) have told the media that it was a case of medicine tragedy and not hooch tragedy as alleged," Singh said.

Senior Congress member Santosh Singh Saluja demanded arrest of Health minister, Health secretary, Drugs Controller and the drugs inspector under section 302 of IPC for the death of 40 persons in the tragedy.

"If the then excise minister could resign, why not the health minister who is equally responsible for the death of 40 persons," Saluja asked raising question on BJD government's claim about transparency.