Seven persons died in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district over a period of three days while several others were undergoing treatment in hospital after consuming illegally brewed spurious liquor, officials said on Thursday.
According to the officials, four people died of methyl alcohol poisoning on Tuesday night and Wednesday while three more people passed away by the early hours of Thursday.
“The SDM had received information on Wednesday morning that on Tuesday night, two people started vomiting and lost their eyesight which led to the death in Chak Samri village, Roopwas near the Uttar Pradesh border. More deaths took place following that. Thereafter it has been gathered that around 18 people had consumed illegally brewed spurious liquor. So far seven deaths have taken place while two people are critical,” Bharatpur district collector Nathmal Didel told The Indian Express on Thursday.
He added that preliminary inquiry suggests that the deaths took place due to methyl alcohol poisoning.
“Out of the 18 people, seven have died and two people are critical. Some others have been discharged. The area is very close to the Uttar Pradesh border where the sale of illegal liquor was being done. We have conducted raids ever since the incident and a district-wide drive will take place to crackdown on the illegal liquor trade,” said Didel.
Officials said that a few of the patients have also been referred to Jaipur.
Bharatpur superintendent of police Devendra Kumar Bishnoi said that five people have been arrested so far.
“Three cases have been registered and five people have been arrested under the Excise Act for brewing illegal liquor and hooch. Some of those arrested also have past cases in relation of selling illegal liquor,” said Bishnoi.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot expressed grief over the incident. The Rajasthan government also announced Rs. 2 lakh assistance to each of the families of the deceased while the other victims will get a financial assistance of Rs. 50,000 each.
A government release said that the Chief Minister has directed the divisional commissioner, Bharatpur to investigate the reasons and other factors which led to the tragedy.
Several officials from the police and excise departments were suspended by the government at the aftermath of the incident. While the entire staff of the excise enforcement station in Roopwas has been suspended, the SDM Roopwas was kept on awaiting posting orders after the incident.