2 more die in Haridwar hooch tragedy, toll rises to 10

Published on Sep 12, 2022 07:07 PM IST

The Haridwar police said a FIR has been registered against the village head candidate Babli, her husband Bijendra and brother-in-law Naresh

The Congress has lashed out at the ruling BJP in Uttarakhand for the deaths, alleging that the liquor mafia was flourishing in the state with the protection of the state government. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The Congress has lashed out at the ruling BJP in Uttarakhand for the deaths, alleging that the liquor mafia was flourishing in the state with the protection of the state government. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Dehradun: Two more persons who fell ill in Haridwar last week after consuming country-made liquor distributed by a panchayat election candidate have died, taking the total number of deaths due to illicit liquor in the case to 10, police said.

Two people are still under treatment.

Additional superintendent of police, Rekha Yadav, who is heading the three-member special investigation team, said there is no way to confirm that the first two deaths on Friday were linked to the illicit liquor because they were cremated by their family.

The local police were alerted to the incident only after a bunch of villagers were rushed to hospitals on Saturday.

Bijendra, the husband of the panchayat candidate from Phoolgarh, Babli, and her brother Naresh, who distributed the illicit liquor in the run up to the September 26 elections for the village head’s post, were arrested on charges of murder on Sunday.

Initial investigations revealed that Bijendra was a quack and was called “doctor” by villagers. Rekha Yadav added that the accused has worked as a “helper” in some of the district’s private hospitals.

According to police, the accused brewed the liquor around six months ago and started giving it for free to villagers after his wife filed her nomination for the village head’s post.

Police said the bootleg liquor was brewed at Naresh’s godown.

Haridwar district magistrate Vinay Shankar Pandey earlier denied that consumption of illicit liquor led to the deaths. Later, nine local excise officials and four police officers, including in charge of the Pathri police station were suspended.

Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has ordered a magisterial probe, saying the accountability of culprits will be fixed.

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