Hooch tragedy: Death toll climbs to 70 after deaths in Haridwar, Saharanpur

Hooch tragedy leaves 42 dead in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand

23 die, scores sick after consuming fake alcoholic drink

At least 39 people died and another 27 fell sick from drinking cheap fake liquor in northern India, officials said Saturday.

Twenty-four of the victims died in Balupur and its neighbouring villages in Uttarakhand's Haridwar district, state's Additional Director General (Law and Order) Ashok Kumar said.

At least 64 people had died in Saharanpur and Haridwar, adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand states, after drinking the poisonous liquor.

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There were also reports of some people dying after consuming spurious liquor in Saharanpur district, the release added. "Several others are being treated at hospital", Saharanpur SSP Dinesh Kumar P said.

Saharanpur District Magistrate Alok Pandey said 42 people were undergoing treatment at a hospital, ANI reported. Kushinagar SP Rajeev Mishra said police arrested one Rajendra Jaiswal after he confessed to have supplied spurious liquor to victims.

Officials in both the districts say the death toll is likely to go up in wake of the number of people admitted at the hospitals.

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"Nine people have been suspended in connection with the case and investigation is on". In Kushinagaer, The first two suspected deaths were reported from a village under Tarya Sujan police station on Feburary 6. While 13 excise department officials and four policemen were suspended in Uttarakhand, Saharanpur SSP suspended ten policemen, including an SHO, from Gagalhedi and Naagal police stations, under which all the affected villages fall.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered a probe into the incident and announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of those who died and Rs 50,000 each to those undergoing treatment.

The viscera examination on 11 more bodies is yet to be conducted to find out if these too were alcohol-related deaths.

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UP CM also directed the state's DGP to take stock of the situation and fix responsibility of the police in two districts where several deaths due to spurious liquor were reported.

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