Ujjain: Twelve people died in last 24 hours after allegedly consuming spurious liquor at Ujjain, police said on Thursday. However, sources claimed that the toll was 14 as three more bodies were recovered from different places across the city in the evening.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the incident. The team headed by ACS, home, Rajesh Rajora would reach Ujjain on Friday and stay there for two days. He would be assisted by Additional Director General (ADG) SK Jha and DIG Ratlam Range Sushant Saxena.
“If such a thing is being sold elsewhere, police should find it out and prosecute the offenders severely,” Chouhan said. “People selling poisonous substances are enemies of the society. They should be punished severely. Efforts should be made to send such people to gallows,” he added.
A statement by the government said that victims died after allegedly consuming "denatured spirit". Four cops, including a TI, have been suspended and a case registered against three persons. A supplier too has been arrested.
SP Manoj Kumar Singh confirmed to Free Press that 12 people had died after consuming ginger liquor. He said that a case under Section 304 of the IPC and Excise Act has been registered against three spurious liquor peddlers and one of them has been rounded-up. He also suspended Kharakuwa Inspector M S Meena, Sub Inspector Niranjan Sharma and two constables Nawaz Saeed and Sheikh Anwar for dereliction of duty.
“Twelve people, mostly beggars and poor labourers, died after drinking some poisonous liquid since Wednesday in areas falling under three police stations- Kharakuwa, Jeevajiganj and Mahakal,” Ujjain Additional Superintendent of Police Rupesh Dwivedi said.
Ujjain Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Mahaveer Khandelwal said, “Twelve people were brought to a local hospital in a critical condition. None of them survived for more than 15 minutes after being brought.” Asked what the victims had consumed, he said, “It could be spurious liquor, spirit or some other chemical. It will be known when the viscera report comes in.” Ujjain Collector Ashish Singh said an order has been issued to crack a whip against people selling poisonous substances and to charge them under stringent National Security Act (NSA).
Earlier, on Wednesday, seven people, most of them labourers, were found dead in different localities of Ujjain. At least, six of them had consumed ‘potali’ (known as ginger liquor) available for Rs 20 to Rs 50 per pouch. Cops said that two labourers were found dead in Kharakuan police circle. Two others died during course of treatment at district hospital in the evening. During treatment, they accepted to have purchased ‘potali’ from a man in Kaharawadi.
Initial post-mortem reports blamed consumption of denatured spirit for the deaths. Preliminary investigations indicated that the toxic was being manufactured and sold in old milk packets for Rs 10 from an abandoned parking area of the municipal corporation.
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In a tweet, ex-CM Kamal Nath said his government was taking strict action against people indulging in illegal trade. However, the Congress government was toppled. The entire BJP government is busy in by-elections and people have been left to god’s mercy. “Reports of liquor mafia operating in many districts are doing the round. They have no fear of the law, he wrote and said that a four-member Congress team has been constituted to probe the incident. The team includes MLA Mahesh Parmar, Manoj Chawla, Dilip Gurjar and Murli Morwal.