Twenty-five people have died after consuming toxic liquor in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh since Friday morning and new cases have been reported from a block along the district’s border with Haryana, officials said.
The BJP’s Lok Sabha MP from Aligarh, Satish Gautam, however, said as per information gathered by him, the death count has crossed 35.
Speaking to news persons, Mr Gautam said his figures were based on inputs collected from different villages “where many victims have been cremated without conducting post-mortem examination”.
Asked why there was a difference between official figures and information collected by him, the MP said, “I will be meeting the officials today (Sunday) and we will discuss this issue. There is no question of hiding any fact. A person who has been a victim of this tragedy would ultimately find his name in the official death list.”
The cases were limited to just the Lodha block of the district on the first day but have now spread to at least four more blocks.
The district authorities have been sending teams to villages to urge people not to consume any liquor bought even a week back.
Meanwhile, Lodha police station in-charge Abhay Kumar Sharma has been suspended for dereliction of duty, as per an official announcement made on Saturday evening. The first death in the hooch tragedy was reported in this police station area.
District Magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh said a magisterial probe will reveal the exact death count.
According to reports, some victims had consumed the killer brew even a day after the first deaths.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani had told news persons on Saturday that five people have been arrested so far, including Anil Chaudhary, the alleged kingpin of the spurious liquor racket.
The police have filed case against a total of 12 people. Several raids were carried out in various parts of the district.
A reward of Rs 50,000 each has been announced on the arrest of Rishi Sharma and Vipin Yadav, associates of Anil Chaudhary, the SSP said on Saturday.
Officials are seizing liquor pouches to help identify the spurious liquor stock that found its way to the government-authorised liquor vends.
The district magistrate has recommended Rs 5 lakh compensation to the family of the dead.