Bihar: The death toll in a suspected hooch tragedy in Bihar's East Champaran district rose to 26 on Monday with four more people losing their lives after consuming the spurious liquor in Motihari, SP Kantesh Kumar Mishra said.
Twenty more are undergoing treatment at Sadar and different hospitals in the district, he said.
Several officers were suspended after the incident
The district police suspended SHOs of Turkauliya, Harsiddhi, Sugauli and Paharpur police stations and Raghunathpur outpost on the charge of dereliction of duties, East Champaran SP said.
"With four more deaths in the last ten hours, the toll has now increased to 26. Besides, five station house officers of police stations concerned have been suspended after the incident," Mishra told PTI.
Disciplinary actions were taken against 11 police personnel, including nine chowkidars, on Sunday, he said, adding that the district police have so far registered five cases and the "investigation into the hooch tragedy is underway".
The East Champaran police have also arrested 80 people for allegedly being involved in the illegal trade of liquor in the district.
Spurious liquor seized from over 600 places in Motihari
Huge quantities of spurious liquor and other related chemicals were seized during searches at more than 600 places in different parts of Motihari where deaths due to the consumption of illicit alcohol were first reported on April 15.
"Police recovered 370 litres of country-made liquor, 50 litres of spirit and 1,150 litres of other chemicals used in the manufacturing of spurious liquor," the administration said in a statement on Sunday.
Political reactions after the incident
The opposition BJP termed the hooch tragedy in Motihari as a "mass murder by the Nitish Kumar government".
Leader of Opposition in the Bihar assembly, Vijay Kumar Sinha, had on Sunday accused the state administration of "protecting liquor mafias who are associated with the ruling JD(U) and the RJD".
The party will approach the National Human Rights Commission and other such central bodies to conduct a "probe into the hooch tragedy", former state BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal said.
The Nitish Kumar government imposed a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol on April 5, 2016.
Notably, incidents of smuggling of liquor continue to be reported from the state, notwithstanding the ongoing drive against bootleggers.
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