Hooch toll rises to 31, magisterial inquiry ordered

Hooch toll rises to 31, magisterial inquiry ordered

The toll in the hooch tragedy in Lucknow and Unnao districts today climbed to 31 with 17 more people dying overnight, prompting the Uttar Pradesh government to order a magisterial inquiry and crack down on erring officials by suspending 20 of them.

District Magistrate Raj Shekhar said that a magisterial inquiry has been ordered keeping in view the magnitude of the tragedy.

Over 100 victims were still undergoing treatment in different hospitals in the state capital after they fell ill upon consuming illicit liquor on Sunday. The condition of eight of them was stated to be critical.

"Till now, 25 deaths have been reported from Lucknow and six from Unnao," IG (Law and Order) A Satish Ganesh told reporters here.

He said cases have been lodged in Malihabad, Hasanganj and Aurus areas here and two persons have been detained.

Taking serious note of the incident, the Uttar Pradesh government today suspended Assistant Excise Commissioner Atul Kumar Srivastava and Deputy Excise Commissioner Ravi Shanker Pathak on charges of dereliction of duty.

Excise Commissioner Anil Garg had yesterday suspended seven employees of the department, including Excise Inspector of Malihabad area, and recommended action against District Excise Officer, Lucknow, Lal Bahadur Yadav. Besides, Circle Officer, Station Officer, a sub-inspector and three police personnel were placed under suspension in Malihabad.

Cracking the whip, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had directed suspension of sub-divisional magistrate, assistant excise commissioner (enforcement), district excise officer, circle officer of police and station house officer.

He had also announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.  Yadav also directed departmental action against the joint excise commissioner and sought explanation from the excise commissioner in this regard.

The IG had said a case has been lodged against five persons for selling spurious liquor and the main accused, Jugnu, has been arrested. 
He said Principal Secretary (Home) Debashish Panda and DG A K Gupta held a meeting last night and issued necessary directives to the district magistrates to take action against bootleggers.

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer, Lucknow, SNS Yadav said over 100 persons were still admitted in various hospitals.

"While 45 patients are admitted at KGMU, 38 are in Balrampur, 24 in Lohia and 28 in Civil hospital," he said. 
Yadav said the condition of eight patients was critical and they were on ventilator.Demanding strong action, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during a visit here, told reporters that the state government should thoroughly probe the incident and initiate strict action against those found guilty.

The hooch tragedy occurred in Kharta and other villages in Malihabad area of Lucknow and Talasarai village in Hasanganj area of Unnao district. 

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