Hooch tragedy:Wife of main accused.3 others held

Canning (West Bengak): Four persons, including the wife of the main accused Noor Islam Sheikh alias `Khora` Badshah, were held early today by a CID team in connection with the illicit liquor deaths at Magrahat in South 24 Parganas district which had claimed 173 lives.

A senior police officer said that a CID team arrested Noorjahan Bibi, who is the first wife of `khora` Badshah, besides his right hand man Bakkar alias Bakreswar and another accomplice Ghulam Rasool from a house at Canning`s Kargil locality.

Shambhu Patro, owner of the house and Bakkar`s brother-in-law, was also detained for interrogation by the team from Kolkata during the raid.

At least 173 persons had died of the 369 admitted to hospitals after consuming the hooch, allegedly supplied by the syndicate run by `Badshah`, at liquor dens near Sangrampur rail station area on December 13 night in West Bengal`s worst-ever illicit liquor tragedy.

Police, earlier had arrested two persons in connection with the incident. The hooch victims including labourers, rickshaw pullers and hawkers were admitted to Diamond Harbour sub-divisional hospital in South 24 Parganas district and M R Bangur Hospital and National Medical Hospital in Kolkata.

The victims fell ill after consuming spurious liquor at several illegal joints near the station in Mograhat area and the death toll shot up in the next two-three days.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the deaths occurred due to methyl alcohol toxicity which led to respiratory and cardiac failure.

The issue figured in the Assembly with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee having announced a CID inquiry into the tragedy which took place less than a week after the major fire in AMRI hospital which left 93 dead.