Deaths weren't due to spurious liquor: Minister

Renukacharya told reporters in Bangalore that postmortem reports of Rajanna (38) and Kempa Venkatamma (42), both residents of Byathaseerasandra, had revealed that they had succumbed to illness and excessive consumption of alcohol.

Both the deceased had bought whiskey from a local liquor shop. Rajanna had complained of chest pain after consuming the liquor. He was later shifted to Victoria Hospital but was declared brought dead. Kempa Venkatamma who also consumed the same brand of liquor died on Saturday night.

However, the report of chemical analysis of the liquor by the office of the chief chemist, department of excise, had revealed that it was fit for consumption, the minister said. Renukacharya said the excise department had noticed sale of illicit liquor was prevalent in Uttara Kannada, Chamarajnagar, Kolar, Belgaum, Dakshina Kannada, and would take steps to crack down on the same. The state was losing an estimated Rs 500 crore per annum due to sale of illicit liquor, he said. The department had also sought deployment of more excise police and guards at the Karwar-Goa border to prevent transport of illegal liquor into the state.

Liquor from Goa was being smuggled into Karnataka via mountain passes across the boundary. Surveillance would be intensified at the checkpost points. Liquor was also being ferried through the sea route.

A proposal had been sent to the finance department seeking clearance for recruiting 60 security personnel to augment staff for the mobile squad at Karwar, he said. The police will also launch a drive at entry-points along the Goa Karnataka border to curb drunken driving, the Minister said.

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