Bengal hooch tragedy toll rises to 12

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Kolkata, Nov 29 (IANS) With five more deaths since late Wednesday night, the toll in the hooch tragedy in West Bengal’s Nadia district rose to 12 with 28 people admitted in hospitals, official said on Thursday.

“The death toll has risen to 12, as five more people died since late last night. As many as 19 people have been admitted at the district hospital while nine others have been referred to Kolkata as their condition is critical,” said Nadia district’s CMOH Tapas Roy.

The incident took place in Nrishighapur village under Santipur block, prompting the state government to order a Criminal Investigation Department inquiry. A compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the closest kin of each of the deceased has also been announced.

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“Four people involved in illicit liquor trade have been arrested in the case,” police said.

Eleven excise officials, including deputy excise collector of Ranaghat range and eight excise constables, have been suspended.

The tragedy has also triggered a political slugfest, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Finance Minister Amit Mitra accusing peddlers from Jharkhand and Bihar of smuggling in the spurious liquor into Bengal. The state government has asked the CID to probe the angle.

However, the state BJP has rubbished the allegation and blamed the Bengal administration of turning a blind eye to the rampant hooch trade.

–IANS

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