Khoda liquor tragedy: Cops, smugglers hand-in-glove, say residents
Locals held protests in Shani Bazar and Subhash Park in Khoda. Reena Bhati, chairperson of Khoda nagar palika, also arrived at the spot to pacify locals.Updated: Mar 13, 2018 23:29 IST
Residents of Khoda, who have until now maintained silence over the illicit liquor trade in their locality, came out openly against the illegal liquor vends in their area. They staged a protest at Shankar Vihar main market and also reached the grocery shop in Gali No.9 which is operated by a man named Sunil.
“The shop is run by Sunil and his mother Neelam. They have been operating the liquor business for over a year. Nearly 250-300 residents go there daily to purchase liquor. Altercation and arguments between drunkards are common in the streets,” a woman shopkeeper on Gali No. 9 said.
Sunil’s shop and home were deserted on Tuesday as its occupants had fled as soon news of the four deaths spread. The police seized several cartons of liquor from the shop.
Locals held protests in Shani Bazar and Subhash Park in Khoda. Reena Bhati, chairperson of Khoda nagar palika, also arrived at the spot to pacify locals.
“Some people had come to us with complaints of liquor being sold illegally. We went to the police but the shops started doing business again,” Bhati said.
She recently won the seat on a BJP ticket. Locals said sale of smuggled liquor was also rampant in areas of Deepak Vihar and Adarsh Nagar in Khoda.
“Even children sell liquor bottles stocked in gunny bags. People operating such shops tell us that they pay Rs 40,000 per month to the local police to keep their trade going,” Krishnandan Prasad, a Shankar Vihar resident, said.
District magistrate Ritu Maheshwari had ordered a crackdown on the liquor mafia in Khoda, Loni and other rural areas.
“We have come to know about the connivance of local police and action will be taken against the guilty. The samples of liquor consumed by the victims have been sent to an Agra laboratory for testing. Postmortem reports will also help ascertain the exact cause of death,” Maheshwari said.
She added that FIRs against the culprits would be lodged soon. Seven police and excise department personnel have been suspended in connection with the incident.
The officials of the district administration said the illicit liquor traders were mixing chemicals and repackaging the liquor in used liquor bottles.
“We have identified 48 sensitive spots, including Khoda, in Ghaziabad where liquor smuggling is prevalent. Our teams from Meerut and Ghaziabad will be conducting raids shortly,” Rajesh Mani Tripathi, joint commissioner (excise), said.
First Published: Mar 13, 2018 23:29 IST