Law Kumar Mishra

Patna: As the death toll in the Gopalganj liquor tragedy rose to 16, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and RJD president Lalu Prasad contradicted the claim of the excise department that no trace of liquor was found in the post- mortem reports  of the victims. Lalu said the government should rely on the statements of the family members and survivors who have alleged illicit liquor caused deaths.There is total prohibition in Bihar since April 5, 2016
Nitish said on Thursday prima facie,it appears, the spurious liquor or some adulterated drink caused deaths. Reports of post- mortem are not final, he said and added since they had consumed liquor on August 15 and died on August 17, the post- mortem could not confirm presence of liquor.They had vomitted too before being admitted to the hospital so the liquor impact might have evaporated, the CM said and disputed the claim of excise department that no trace of liquor was found and they might have died after consuming sulphas tablets.

Nitish said he has asked for preservation of viscera of the deceased and would wait for its report and the court has been requested to pass an appropriate order. The chief minister said, “My hunch is they died due to spurious liquor.” Gopalganj DM Rahul Kumar too said deaths took place due to spurious liquor.
K K Mandal,assistant excise commissioner who is official spokesman of the Excise and Prohibition department, in a press note on Wednesday had claimed no alcohol was found in the autopsy of eight  people. Six were cremated before police could take the bodies under their custody, Mandal had said.

RJD president Lalu Prasad in whose home district,Gopalganj, liquor deaths took place said the mattter should not be hushed up. He urged the chief minister to punish the guilty and alleged the illicit liquor trader of the area had returned to Khajoorbanni in Gopalganj last month after being released from jail. He also suggested the government should have faith on the statements of the relatives of the deceased who had alleged illicit liquor caused deaths.
Wives, sisters and brothers of the victims had alleged they had consumed liquor at Khajoorbani on August 15 and complained of vomitting, body pain and uneasiness. Some of them had even brought bottles to their their residences too. Police recovered 45 gallons of liquor from the fields near Khajoorbani on Wednesday. Six people have been arrested.
Lalu caused an embarassment  to the chief minister by claiming it was “strange” illicit liquor was being sold despite such a harsh law and stringent measures to enforce total prohibition. The CM too agreed by saying”it was a matter of grave concern” and advised the relatives of the deceased to inform police about the source of supply of illicit liquor and assured if illicit liquor caused death, they would not be victimised rather would be paid compensation at the rate of Rs four lakh to each deceased. The CM said the chief secretary and director general of police were monitoring investigations.

Four victims of illicit liquor from Khajoorbani are admitted to Patna Medical College Hospital whereas two others died during treatment.

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