At least six people have died in Haridwar district in the last three days due to the alleged consumption of liquor distributed by a panchayat election candidate on Friday.
Police said that the head candidate of Phulgarh village Babli distributed liquor in the village.
They arrested her husband on Sunday and booked him for murder. Police are still searching for Babli and his brother Naresh.
According to senior police officials, at least six people have died so far due to the consumption of alcohol. While residents claim the death toll is eight, officials said two of them died due to other reasons.
Four police personnel and nine excise department officials have been suspended for negligence.
“As per our reports, there have been six poison-related deaths in the area. Of these, one person died on Friday, four on Saturday and the other on Sunday. There have been two more deaths in the respective villages, but we cannot confirm whether these are alcohol related deaths as one person died several days ago and the other was involved in a fight that led to a murder FIR is registered. We are waiting for the post-mortem report to confirm the cause of death. Out of these six deaths, four are from Phulgarh village and two are from Shivgarh village.
On the instructions of Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami, 9 employees of the Excise Department including the Excise Inspector suspended for the death of 4 due to consumption of alcohol in Pathri area of Haridwar. CM said strict action against the culprits: CMO https://t.co/3rmCb132or
— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) 10 September 2022
“We have arrested one Vijender Kumar, who is the husband of Babli, the prime candidate. We have found that the deceased had consumed alcohol at their home. Liquor was distributed in view of the upcoming Panchayat elections. The candidate distributed liquor on the last day of nomination. We have registered a case against the husband under section 302 (murder) of IPC. Also, four policemen have been suspended. Those suspended include Pathri SO Ravindra Kumar and 3 constables. A statement issued by Haridwar police said that they have seized 35 liters of illicit raw liquor from Vijendra.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said action would be taken against those found responsible, and directed the Excise Department to ensure that such incidents do not recur. Excise Commissioner Harichandra Semwal has issued an order to suspend nine excise officers.
The order issued by the Excise Commissioner said, “A preliminary report by the Additional Excise Commissioner has confirmed that the deceased had consumed alcohol. The report found serious negligence on the part of (excise) employees… Hence, nine officers have been suspended with immediate effect and attached to Dehradun office,” the order read.
Panchayat elections in Haridwar will be held on September 26. Haridwar is the only district in the state where elections to three-tier panchayats are not held along with other districts. This sequence has been maintained since the formation of the state. Here Panchayats are formed after one year of other districts.