Lucknow: The death toll in the Azamgarh hooch case rose to 17 on Saturday, with over a dozen people battling for life in different hospitals.
However, the Azamgarh district administration has confirmed only nine deaths so far terming the others as natural or due to some ailment.
As the shadow of death extended to three adjoining villages of Raunapur police station in the district, authorities ordered a magisterial probe into the tragedy. Though over 30 persons involved in the illicit trade were under the scanner, five of them were booked for manufacture and supply of spurious liquor under different sections of the IPC.
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Taking a serious note of the incident, chief minister Yogi Adityanath directed the authorities concerned to fix accountability of the persons responsible for the laxity.
Consequently, six excise department personnel, including excise inspector Sanjeev Kumar were suspended. Azamgarh SSP AK Sahni said that — Raunapar SO Nadeem Ahmad Faridi, beat SI Santosh Kumar and beat constable Shashi Kumar –were suspended in this connection.
The tragedy had struck the Kewatahiya, Rassolpur and Odhra Salempur villages under Raunapur police station on Friday claiming seven lives initially. Over half a dozen people fell ill and were taken to different hospitals stealthily to escape the eyes of administration.
On Friday night, two others succumbed in the hospital raising the toll to nine and
Saturday saw six deaths, including two referred to Varanasi hospital.
Azamgarh district hospital superintendent-in-chief, Dr G L Kesharvani said that two critically ill persons were referred to Banaras Hindu University hospital in Varanasi.
While 13 people died in Raunapur since Friday, four deaths were reported from Jiyanpur.
“So far we have information of 11 deaths of which two died due to illness,” said Azamgarh District Magistrate Chandrabhushan Singh said.
However, the DM said the authorities were in the process of confirming the actual figure of casualties and the reasons involved. He, however, confirmed the magisterial probe.