Odisha hooch toll mounts to 19; judicial probe ordered

Written by: Pti
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Cuttack, Feb 8: With 14 more persons succumbing to illness caused by spurious liquor, the death toll in Odisha hooch tragedy mounted to 19 today prompting the state government to order a judicial probe into the episode.

As many as 13 persons, who drank on Monday night at a country liquor joint in Mahidharpada area of Cuttack district, are now undergoing treatment at the S C B Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, official sources said.

The toll, which stood at five yesterday, has now risen to 19 with more deaths reported during treatment, hospital's superintendent D N Moharana said. Deaths have taken place in several villages spread over Mahidharpada and Balianta areas of Cuttack and adjoining Khurda districts respectively, district Collector Girish said.

People within five km radius of Mahidharpada have been affected by the killer drink, he said, adding the tragedy struck due to a deadly mixture as country liquor had been mixed with some cough syrup procured from a pharma company located at Rasulgarh area of Bhubaneswar.

The pharmaceutical company's unit was raided and sealed last night and further investigation was on, he said. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ordered a judicial inquiry into the hooch tragedy, official sources said.

The victims, mostly workers of a nearby brick kiln, The victims, mostly workers of a nearby brick kiln, complained of chest and eye pain after consuming liquor and all of them were taken to the hospital in critical condition.

The deceased included owner of the liquor joint, Baidhar Bhoi, who had been arrested thrice for involvement in illegal sale of country liquor, sources said.

Baidhar's son Benudhar Bhoi and his wife Chhabi have been arrested in connection with the incident. "We have seized a huge quantity of liquid mixture stored at Bhoi's liquor shop. Most of the deceased were suspected to have consumed the mixture available in the brand name of 'Jinger' and 'Suravhi'," state excise commissioner Sudarsan Nayak said.


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