UP Police acts tough on its men, over 500 cops transferred after liquor tragedies

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Aligarh (UP), Jun 4 (PTI) In a major shake-up in the district police after the recent hooch tragedies, police have transferred over 500 of their men, an official said Friday as the death toll in the second case rose to nine.

Three more people who had consumed spurious liquor found dumped in a canal near Rohera village in Jawan area here have died, officials said.

Another man died Friday in the district's Kodiyagunj village and officials are linking it with the same stock of liquor found in the canal near Rohera village on June 2 by some brick kiln workers.

These deaths are apart from people killed in the first case, in which 35 people are confirmed to have died of liquor poisoning. The number could be higher as reports of viscera examination on 52 more suspected victims are still awaited.

All the victims, including women, in the June 2 hooch tragedy belonged to a group of around 120 migrant workers from Bihar. They were living in temporary shanties at the local brick kiln where they worked.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani said more than 540 police personnel who were posted at the same police station for over two years have been transferred.

He said 148 of them have been shunted out of the district.

Five police inspectors, including two station house officers, and a circle officer have been suspended for suspected links with the liquor mafia, the SSP said.

Chief Medical Officer, Aligarh, Bhanu Pratap Kalyani confirmed that 'nine post-mortems have been conducted since Thursday on victims of the Rohera village hooch tragedy'.

The victims are being mainly treated at the Jawahar Lal Nehru (JLN) Medical College, besides some at private hospitals, officials said.

Police said a labourer working at another brick kiln in Kodiyagunj village under the Akraabaad police station area died after allegedly consuming spurious liquor.

They said the liquor consumed by the labourer was floating down in a crate downstream the same canal near Rohera village.

Chief Superintendent, JLN Medical College, Harris Manzur told PTI that 32 people have so far been admitted in the hospital from Wednesday night till Thursday evening.

'Of these, seven people died (of the total nine deaths) till this morning and 25 are being treated. Some of them are still in serious condition. They had reportedly consumed the liquor discovered on Wednesday evening by one of the labourers who had been fishing in the canal (near Rohera village), he said on Friday.

Talking to reporters, Kalyani noted, 'Post-mortems of 98 people have been conducted till this morning after the first hooch tragedy broke out on May 28.' He said the district authorities are awaiting the viscera reports before confirming the cause of deaths of all these 98 victims.

The administration has so far confirmed 35 deaths in the May 28 hooch tragedy.

SSP Naithani said police have intensified the manhunt to track down Rishi Sharma, the kingpin of the liquor mafia, who is the only major offender still eluding them in connection with the May 28 incident.

The reward for Sharma's arrest has been raised from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000, he said.

The SSP said five of Sharma's close family members, including his wife and his son, have already been arrested.

Thirty-eight people have been arrested in connection with 16 cases in separate police stations of the district so far. PTI Corr ABN SAB IJT

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