Ghaziabad, March 3 (IANS) At least 24 people have died and as many were critically ill after consuming spurious liquor in Ghaziabad and Bulandshahr districts in pre- and post-Holi celebrations, police said Wednesday.
Of the 24 critically ill people, six have reportedly lost their eyesight and are admitted in hospitals in Meerut, police added.
Both districts fall in the national capital region (NCR).
In post-Holi celebrations March 1, 2 and 3, five persons were killed and 15 fell ill after consuming spurious liquor in Dahna village of Ghaziabad.
The five deceased were identified as: Phool Das, Jitendra, Ravendra, Prem Singh and Pramod Singh.
In addition, two men – Patram and Pawan – residents of Nanpur village under Garh Mukteswar police station, also died apparently after consuming spurious liquor.
In another incident, nine people were killed and about a dozen fell critically ill in the villages of Mirpur, Mirzapur and Daulatpur in the adjoining district of Bulandshahr after consuming spurious liquor.
The victims were identified as Rakesh, Ram Kishan, Shiv Charan, Meghraj, Roop Chand, Sundar, Jagan, Khiloni and Arvind.
Earlier in pre-Holi celebration Feb 26, six persons died after consuming spurious liquor in Kinor village of Bahadurgarh district.
The total toll in pre-Holi celebrations rose to seven after the death of another villager.
After reports of the deaths, police recovered 25 bottles from the residence of Tukki Sharma, a resident of Dahna Devli village. The bottles were sent for forensic test.
After the rise in the toll in the hooch tragedy, District Magistrate R. Ramesh Kumar called a press conference and announced that the administration has taken stern action against hooch suppliers.
Two police officers and two excise officials have been suspended after the hooch deaths.
Two suspects said to be involved in the incident have been arrested and two alleged hooch suppliers have been detained for questioning.
Senior Superintendent of Police Raghuvir Lal said: ‘Ajay Kumar Gupta and his accomplice Chhatrapal have been arrested and two alleged suppliers, Anand and Amit, have been taken into custody.’