As the number of deaths in the hooch tragedy rose to over 40 in Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath led-government has ordered setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the incident. Over 70 people have died in the state and in adjoining Uttarakhand.
An official spokesperson said the SIT has been constituted to make an in-depth enquiry into the tragedy that struck Saharanpur and Kushinagar districts in the state last week.
The five-member SIT, constituted on the directives of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, is headed by ADG (Railways) Sanjay Singhal.
It has been specifically asked to find out whether there was any conspiracy angle and also to review past incidents, and submit its report within 10 days, suggesting measures to stop recurrence of such incidents.
Meanwhile, a home department official said that the government has decided to suspend the circle officers in both the districts where the tragedy took place.
The circle officer of Deoband in Saharanpur district, Siddharth, and the circle officer of Tamkuhi Raj in Kushinagar district, Ramkrishna Tiwari, have been placed under immediate suspension, he said.
The latest action of the government came against the backdrop of a blame game over the twin incidents with Adityanath alleging the involvement of the Samajwadi Party in "such mischievous acts" in the past and BSP supremo Mayawati seeking a CBI probe into the matter which she said was a result of "sheer callousness" of the BJP government.
Adityanath, from his home turf Gorakhpur, warned of stern action against all those found involved in illicit liquor trade even if they were associated with any political party.
"In the past too, such type of mischievous acts by SP leaders had come to fore. In Azamgarh, Hardoi, Kanpur and Barabanki, SP leaders were found to be involved in past hooch tragedies. We can't deny conspiracy this time too," Yogi told reporters Saturday night.
In addition, two people were arrested on Sunday in Uttarakhand for selling spurious liquor.
According to police, arrested father-son duo, Fakira and Sonu, told investigators that they had procured the spurious liquor from Uttar Pradesh and sold it in Balupur and its neighbouring villages in Uttarakhand's Haridwar district.
Over 70 people have died in the hooch tragedy that hit two adjoining districts in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, officials said.
Thirty-six people died in Balupur and its neighbouring villages in Haridwar district in Uttarakhand and as many people had died in UP's Saharanpur district.
In an unrelated incident, nine people have died over the week in eastern Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar district, allegedly after drinking spurious liquor.
Adityanath said he had spoken to his Uttarakhand counterpart Trivendra Singh Rawat and asked him to share details as the spurious liquor was served to the natives of Uttar Pradesh in a Haridwar village.
"A racket of spurious liquor was being operated there in Uttarakhand. Therefore, I have spoken to the CM seeking details," Adityanath said.
He said action has been taken against the excise officer, the excise inspector, SHOs and beat constables in Saharanpur and Kushinagar districts of UP.
Taking serious note of the deaths due to spurious liquor in Kushinagar as well as Saharanpur districts, the state government has ordered a 15-day joint drive by excise and police officials against those involved.
The UP government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased and help of Rs 50,000 each for those undergoing treatment in hospitals.
(With inputs from agencies)
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