Seven officials have so far been suspended and a village watchman dismissed in connection with the deaths in Uttar Pradesh’s Chitrakoot district allegedly due to consumption of spurious liquor, even as another fatality raised the count to 5, police said on Monday.
The incident took place in Khopa village and the first death was recorded on Saturday, according to police.
So far, five villagers have died while two others are in a serious condition and undergoing treatment at a hospital in Allahabad, senior police official K Satya Narayan said on Monday.
Altogether eight officials/employees, including the SDM, DSP and district excise officer have been suspended in this connection and four people have been arrested, he said.
While Sita Ram (60) died in the village on Saturday night, Munna Singh (40) died in a private hospital on Sunday morning, the IG said, adding that Satyam (22) and Durvijay Singh (32) died while being taken to Allahabad, and Babli Singh (38) died late Sunday night at a hospital in Allahabad, police said.
Former gram pradhan Manohar and Vivek are admitted to a hospital for treatment, he said.
Taking a serious view of the incident, the government suspended Rajapur Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Rahul Kashyap Vishkarma, DSP Ram Prakash, District Excise Officer Chatar Sen and Excise Inspector Ashraf Ali Siddiqui till late Sunday night, the IG said.
Besides, Sub-Inspector (SI) Brijesh Pandey, constable Bhupendra Singh, another constable, lekhpal Rajesh Kumar have been suspended, the official said.
The village watchman, Sunil Kumar, has been dismissed, he said.
The official said liquor contractor Ram Prakash Yadav, general merchant shop owner in Khopa village Trilok Singh and two others have been arrested while liquor shop and general merchant shop have been sealed.
To a question, the official said detailed investigations are on and whether the liquor was spurious or not will be known only after the report is received.
He said the matter has been taken seriously and all those found involved in it would be punished.
The official had on Sunday said that upon preliminary inquiry, it has come to light that the victims consumed country-made liquor on Saturday, after which they fell sick.
There is no liquor sale outlet in the village, and the booze was brought from a shop located almost 15 kilometres away, the official had said.