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Death toll in Uttarakhand-UP hooch tragedy rises to 72, two arrested

Press Trust of India  |  Roorkee/Lucknow 

Two people were arrested Sunday in connection with the hooch tragedy that claimed over 70 lives in two adjoining districts in and Uttar Pradesh, police said.

The death toll in rose to 36 on Sunday, with 11 more people succumbing after consuming the spurious liquor in a village in district.

According to an government statement released Saturday evening in Lucknow, 36 died in district which adjoins

According to the police, the arrested father-son duo, and Sonu, told investigators that they had procured the spurious liquor from and sold it in Balupur and its neighbouring villages in Uttarakhand's district.

The two are residents of Balupur village, SSP Janmejay Khanduri and SSP Dinesh Kumar, who held a joint press conference in Roorkee, told

The accused have told interrogators that the liquor they had bought did not have its usual colour and smelt of diesel, the Haridwar Senior of Police (SSP) said.

"It was white like milk and smelt of diesel," they said in their statement to the police.

The victims, hailing from Haridwar district in Uttarakhand and district in Uttar Pradesh, had consumed the liquor after the 'tehravin', the 13th day of mourning ritual, following a relative's death.

Efforts are underway to nab the residents of Punden village of Saharanpur who manufactured the illicit liquor, the said.

He said raids have been conducted at their residence but they are on the run.

The tragedy took a political hue on Sunday, with UP Minister suggesting the involvement of the in "such mischievous acts" and seeking a CBI probe into the matter.

Adityanath, from his home turf Gorakhpur, warned of stern action against all those found involved in illicit liquor trade even if they were associated with any political party.

"In the past too, such type of mischievous acts by SP leaders had come to fore. In Azamgarh, Hardoi, and Barabanki, SP leaders were found to be involved in past hooch tragedies. We can't deny conspiracy this time too," Yogi told reporters Saturday night.

(SP) and former slammed the BJP government in the state over the deaths.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the SP's alliance partner for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, also blamed the BJP governments in UP and Uttarakhand for the tragedy.

in a statement said that both the state governments were "callous" in their approach towards banning sale of spurious liquor and demanded a CBI probe into the tragedy.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the newly appointed in charge of East UP, also demanded the BJP governments in both the states ensure strict punishment to those responsible for the hooch tragedy and provide adequate compensation to the families of the deceased.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, February 10 2019. 20:25 IST