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Hooch toll climbs to 38, 1,954 held in UP police crackdown

"Total 38 persons have died since Monday, which include 32 in Lucknow and 6 in Unnao," IG (Law and Order) A Satish Ganesh told a news agency.

He said that as a part of the drive 7,076 places were raided across the state during which 51,813 litres illicit liquor was recovered and 1,954 persons were arrested. The IG said that drive would continue further.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who also holds the portfolio of Excise department, directed the removal of all employees and officers of the department posted against the provisions of the transfer policy.

Yadav took the decision during a meeting to review the functioning of the department.

Over 100 victims were still undergoing treatment in different hospitals in the state capital after they fell ill upon consuming illicit liquor on Sunday. The condition of eight was stated to be critical.

"While 28 patients each are undergoing treatment at Lohia, Civil and Balrampur hospital, 16 are admitted in King George Medical College. Of those admitted to KGMU, 15 patients face risk of permanent blindness," Chief Medical Officer SNS Yadav said.

Taking serious note of the incident, Uttar Pradesh government removed state Excise Commissioner Anil Garg on Tuesday. He has been put on the wait list.

"Excise Commissioner Anil Garg has been removed from the post by the state government. No fresh appointment has been made in his place," a spokesman had said.

The tragedy led to state-wide crackdown against sale of illicit liquor with police carrying out raids and arresting people involved in the spurious liquor trade, a senior officer said.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had sought an explanation from Garg on Tuesday following the hooch tragedy.

He had also announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.

The government has so far suspended 22 excise and police department staff, besides ordering a magisterial probe. District Magistrate Raj Shekhar said that a magisterial inquiry has been ordered keeping in view the magnitude of the tragedy.

Cases were lodged in Malihabad, Hasanganj, Aurus areas here and two persons were detained.
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