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UP hooch tragedy: Death toll reaches 14

By PTI
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Barabanki (UP), May 28: At least 14 people died and around 40 others were taken ill after consuming spurious liquor in Uttar Pradesh's Barabanki district, officials said on Tuesday.

Locals from Raniganj and adjoining villages consumed the liquor purchased from a shop in Ramnagar area -- around 60 km northeast of Lucknow -- on Monday night. They were rushed to a community health centre after falling ill in the morning, police said.

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At least 12 people, including four members of a family, have died due to consumption of the spurious liquor, Superintendent of Police Ajay Sahni said in a statement. Another person died at the trauma centre of a Lucknow hospital.

Thirty-four people are undergoing treatment and the condition of three is critical, KGMU hospital spokesperson Sandeep Tiwari told PTI. Five-six others have been brought to the Balrampur and Ram Manohar Lohia hospitals in Lucknow, a minister said. The tragedy led to the suspension of 10 excise and two police officers, Excise Minister Jai Pratap Singh said.

[Hooch Tragedy: 26 people dead in Saharanpur, Kushinagar after consuming spurious liquor]

Barabanki Excise Officer Shiv Narayan Dube, Excise Inspector Ramtirath Maurya, three head constables and five constables of the excise department have been suspended with immediate effect. Circle Officer Pawan Gautam and Station House Officer Rajesh Kumar Singh have also been suspended on the charges of dereliction of duty, the minister said. He said the excise commissioner, joint and deputy commissioners were rushed to the spot, adding that directives had been issued to ensure all medical facilities to those undergoing treatment.

[Assam hooch tragedy death toll reaches 102]

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set up a high-level committee to probe all angles, including a "political conspiracy", and submit a report within 48 hours, cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh said. Adityanath directed senior officials to take stern action against all those found guilty, a senior official said. The chief minister announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for each of the deceased.

They have been identified as Raju Singh (30), Rajesh (35), Ramesh Kumar (35), Sonu (25), Mukesh (28), Chhotelal (60), Suryabaksh, Rajendra Verma, Shiv Kumar (38), Mahendra, Ramshare (20), Mahesh Singh (45) and Ram Swaroop (50), officials said. Earlier this year, after a major hooch tragedy in the state and in Uttarakhand that claimed around 100 lives, Adityanath had suggested the involvement of the Samajwadi Party in "such mischievous acts" and promised action against those involved in the illicit liquor trade irrespective of their political association.

PTI

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