MP hooch tragedy: Morena Collector, SP removed as death toll rises to 21

By Express News Service
BHOPAL: Heads have started to roll amid the rising death toll from the spurious liquor tragedy in the Morena district of Madhya Pradesh as CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan ordered the removal of Morena District Collector Anurag Verma and SP Anurag Sujaniya. 

A sub-divisional officer of police (SDOP) was suspended over dereliction of duty. The Bagchini police station in-charge and the Morena district excise officer Javed Ahmad were also suspended.

While the death toll rose to 21 till Wednesday afternoon, the CM chaired a high-level meeting over the incident in Bhopal on Wednesday morning. It was decided to constitute a high-level fact-finding committee to probe the incident and also identify the lapses which led to the tragedy. 

The committee will comprise of additional chief secretary (ACS-Home) and two senior police officers from the state PHQ who will visit Morena district to conduct a detailed probe into the matter. 

It was also decided to start a statewide drive against illicit liquor and conduct regular inspections of all distilleries. 

Meanwhile, the death toll from the Morena hooch tragedy continued to rise. Seven more deaths were reported between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, taking the death toll to 21.

Sixteen others, who consumed the same liquor, have been hospitalised in Morena and Gwalior. Two to three of them are stated to be critical. 

Two key accused of the case identified as Pappu Pandit and Ramveer Rathore (Rathore is the prime accused) have been taken into custody. Interestingly, the duo was hospitalised after consuming the spurious liquor. The condition of Rathore is critical. 

According to IG-Chambal Range Manoj Sharma, searches are being conducted to arrest the remaining five accused. All the seven accused have been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. 

Angered over the hooch tragedy, locals blocked the road between Manpur and Chherna village demanding the immediate start of a police outpost in the area and removal of the licensed liquor vend in that locality.