(Eds: Adds quotes of CM, Mayawati and Akhilesh) Lucknow, Feb 10 (PTI) The hooch tragedy that claimed scores of lives in Uttar Pradesh took a political hue on Sunday, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath recalling the hands of Samajwadi Party in “such mischievous acts” and BSP chief Mayawati 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, Kanpur 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.
Samajwadi Party (SP) president and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on Sunday over the deaths in the tragedy.
He said, “The opposition has been notifying the government about such activities, but they did not act as some of its leaders are involved. The truth is that without the backing of the government, such businesses cannot be carried out. The BJP should accept the fact that they cannot run the state.” 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 deaths.
BSP chief Mayawati 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.
She said till the CBI probe was complete, excise ministers of both the states should be asked to step down to ensure free and fair inquiry.
Mayawati said bootleggers who are running a parallel administration right under the nose of the authorities and selling spurious liquor.
Over 60 people have died in the hooch tragedy that hit two adjoining districts in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh with more people dying of the spurious liquor they drank at a Haridwar village, officials said.
More than 20 victims died in Balupur and its neighbouring villages in Haridwar district and around 40 had died in UP’s Saharanpur district.
In an unrelated incident, nine people have died over the week in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district, allegedly after drinking spurious liquor.
Adityanath said he had spoken to his Uttarakhand counterpart Trivendra Singh Rawat and asked him to share details as the spurious liquor was served to the natives of Uttar Pradesh in a Haridwar village.
“A racket of spurious liquor was being operated there in Uttarakhand. Therefore, I have spoken to the CM seeking details,” Adityanath said.
Adityanath said action has been taken against the excise officer, the excise inspector, SHOs and beat constables in Saharanpur and Kushinagar districts of UP.
Taking serious note of the deaths due to spurious liquor in Kushinagar as well as Saharanpur districts, the state government has ordered a 15-day joint drive by excise and police officials against those involved.
The UP government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased and help of Rs 50,000 each for those undergoing treatment in hospitals.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.