Alok Mishra

Gopalganj: In an apparent move to salvage its image, the Gopalganj district administration has started acting tough against the liquor mafias besides officials of the district for their lapses that led by to the death of 19 persons after consuming hooch. Principal Secretary, Excise and Prohibition Department, K K Pathak also visited Gopalganj on August 19 and issued necessary directives to DM and SP.

As per the directive of Pathak, the district administration with a help of JCB has dug out several underground bhattis (liquor manufacturing units) at village Khajurbanni since Friday and seized huge quantity of hooch, ammonium chloride (nausadar) besides chemicals used for manufacturing hooch. The seized materials are being sent to FSL, official sources said. Besides, SAP jawans, over 25 cops have been pressed into service to dig out liquor as Pathak had apprehended during his visit to Khajurbani on Friday that liquor might have been put under earth. Excise Superintendent Priya Ranjan and other Excise officials including Manoj Kumar, Rajesh Kumar and Avinash Kumar were seen supervising the action.

Main accused held: Police on Saturday arrested the prime accused Nagina Choudhary as he reached local court to surrender. As they came to know about his surrender, the cops in civies laid a trap and arrested him. Till date, eight persons had been arrested and forwarded to jail. Late on Friday night, police had arrested Lal Babu from Uttar Pradesh. Out of 14 accused, six including woman are evading arrest and raids are on to nab them.

Though Gopalganj SP could not be contacted as his cellphone kept ringing on Saturday, police officials said that several police team were carrying out raids across the district to arrest those involved in illicit liquor trade. A Jadopur police team carried out raid at village Mashanthana and seized 80 litres of liquor from there. Four persons: Chuni Lal Mushar, Jitendra Mushar, Saral Mushar and Mistri Mushra, were arrested in this connection. The raid was carried out under  the leadership of Jadopur police station SHO Rakesh Mohan.

Meanwhile, unofficial sources said that Gopalganj DM has written a letter to Principal Secretary, Excise and Prohibition Department, to take strong action against the officials of Excise Department, posted in the district. When contacted, Gopalganj DM Rahul Kumar on Saturday said that on Friday, 550 litre of liquid having smell of mahua and gur, was seized from Khajurbani. He said that FIR has been lodged against 14 persons in this connection. Regarding raids on Saturday, he said that ammonium chloride besides two litre countrymade liquor had been seized. The DM said that he has slapped show cause notices on over half a dozen doctors of Sadar Hospital, who had treated the patients on August 16, 2016.


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