Three people died after allegedly consuming hooch in Rakibganj locality under Malsalami police station area of Patna City on Wednesday. This is the first major incident since total prohibition was announced by the Bihar government on April 5.
The news of the alleged hooch tragedy brought the district officials on their toes. Fearing such incidents, the chief minister had announced at the outset that the local police officials would be held accountable for sale or consumption of liquor in their jurisdiction.
According to reports, the manufacturing and sale of illicit liquor had been going on in Patna City and Danapur sub-divisions in Patna in connivance with some local officials for several years and that continued even after prohibition.
Police said Manoj Kumar, Umashankar Rai and Ashok Das consumed hooch at a roadside dhaba (Baba ka dhaba) near Sahu Petrol pump in Patna City on Monday evening. The trouble began on Tuesday after all three started vomiting and there was foam discharge from their mouth.
The family members immediately admitted them to separate nursing homes here for treatment.
Manoj and Umashankar died late on Tuesday evening, while Ashok breathed his last early Wednesday morning.
Family members of deceased Ashok Das told the police that before being admitted to the nursing home, he revealed the three friends had consumed liquor at dhaba.
Fearing police action, the family members cremated their bodies secretly without ascertaining the cause of the death, said Patna City SDPO, adding that during primary investigation, it came to light that hooch was the reason behind their death.
All of them had consumed liquor at the same place. “So it is suspected that they died after consuming hooch,” said an investigating officer, adding that police team raided the dhaba and detained its owner and two staff.
Senior SP Manu Maharaaj said the matter was under investigation and no arrests had been made so far. Police also quizzed hospital authorities, but they denied any symptoms of hooch.
The deceased had not consumed liquor while they were admitted to nursing homes, said the certificates issued by the administration of the health facilities.
“The doctors have been called to ascertain why did not they inform the police when the cases were of suspected hooch,” the Senior SP added.
Earlier in Nalanda, Chandra Sekhar Yadav, husband of a sarpanch died while two other people, including a quack, were taken critically after allegedly consuming spurious liquor in Gulni village of Hilsa police station area of Nalanda on April 18.
In Gaya, a youth Mithilesh Kumar, a resident of Englishpur village, died after allegedly consuming spurious liquor while four others fell ill. Two of them were admitted to Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital for treatment.
According to villagers, the five had gone to Aurangabad in a marriage function on April 24. “They consumed spirit mixed with cold drink and later developed complications,” he added.