Patna: With three more succumbing, the death toll in Bihar’s Bettiah hooch tragedy rose to 12 on Friday, police said.
Nine persons had died on Diwali morning after consuming spurious liquor the previous night.
The victims belonged to South Telahua village under Nautan police station.
Following the incident, DIG of Champaran range Pranav Kumar, suspended the SHO and a ‘chowkidar’ of Nautan police station.
“Strict action will be taken against the negligent officials and those involved in manufacturing and selling spurious liquor in the region,” Pranav Kumar said.
State Liquor Prohibition Minister Sunil Kumar said, “Bihar has lost 40 people to spurious liquor this year. Strong measures are being taken to prevent such incidents.”
“The liquor prohibition department and the district police have seized 187 lakh litres of liquor. As many as 700 police personnel were terminated from service and over 3 lakh persons involved in liquor consumption, trade and transportation in the state arrested,” Sunil Kumar said.
Ten people have died in Gopalganj due to poisonous liquor since Tuesday evening. Gopalganj Superintendent of Police Anand Kumar suspended the SHO of Mohammadpur police station and a ‘chowkidar’ following the incident on Friday.
“We have suspended Shashi Ranjan, the SHO of Mohammadpur police station and a ‘chowkidar’ for their callous attitude, which led to a large number of deaths in three villages — Mohammadpur, Kushar and Tuhra Tola — that came under their jurisdiction,” Anand Kumar said.
The villagers had consumed poisonous liquor on Tuesday evening and fell ill. While ten of them have died during the last three days, seven others are critically ill.
Four of them have lost their eyesight and are undergoing treatment in Gopalganj and Motihari hospitals.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders have accused the Nitish Kumar government of hiding the actual death toll.
Since January, around 90 persons have died due to poisonous liquor in Bihar. Action against SHO and chowkidar are just an eyewash, they alleged.