13 dead and 40 others ill in UP Barabanki hooch tragedy

Barabanki: At least 13 people died and around 40 others were taken ill after consuming spurious liquor in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district, officials said on Tuesday.

The incident prompted the Adityanath government to order a high-level probe to look into all the angles, including the possibility of a “political conspiracy”.

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.

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.

KGMU hospital spokesperson Sandeep Tiwari

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.

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.

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.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set up a high-level committee, comprising the Ayodhya inspector general and the excise commissioner, to probe into the incident and submit a report within 48 hours, cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh said.

The minister said the committee would also look into any “political conspiracy” angle, adding that Adityanath had directed senior officials to take stern action against all those found guilty.

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.

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.

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