The toll in the suspected hooch tragedy in Gopalganj district rose to 16 with two more deaths on Thursday. Mohammad Nasir, 25, and Munna, 28, died during treatment at Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) in the wee hours.
Though district administration initially claimed that the tragedy might not have been caused by illicit liquor, a stern directive from CM Nitish Kumar to “get to the bottom of the matter”, worked. Gopalganj district magistrate (DM) Rahul Kumar on Thursday confirmed that 15 persons had died after consuming “either alcohol or alcohol-type substance”.
He said, “The nature of the substance consumed would be clear once the forensic science laboratory (FSL), Patna, presents the viscera test report.”
The DM has formed three separate teams for a thorough probe into the incident from all angles.
“Empty bottles of homoeopathic medicine Thuja, with 91% spirit content, have also been recovered from a place in Khajurbanni, where the police carried out raids. Mixing any intoxicant with Thuja to prepare a brew can be deadly,” he said.
Meanwhile, in continued crackdown police recovered 300 litres of liquor kept in different types of jars and arrested seven persons from Khajurbanni locality of Gopalganj town.
Police recovered huge number of empty bottles of homoeopathic drugs, apart from raw materials used for brewing liquor, from the spot.
“A case has been lodged against 14 people, including kingpin Nagina Paswan, on the basis of the statement of the SHO of Town police station BP Alok. Paswan, a notorious name in illicit alcohol trade, was recently released from jail.
He is still at large,” said Saran range deputy inspector general Ajit Rai.
According to reports, the suspected hooch tragedy took place on Monday evening when many people from Luhari Darwaja and adjacent Laukhera village fell ill after consuming spurious liquor at Khajurbanni. The DM said a special team had been constituted for the arrest of Nagina and the other accused.