Staff Reporter

The first death reported four days ago in Raghubir Nagar

Seized liquor samples being sent for examination

Suspected bootleggers are missing from the area

NEW DELHI: Over a dozen people have died and several taken seriously ill after allegedly consuming spurious liquor at Raghubir Nagar in West Delhi in the past few days. One woman has been arrested on charges of bootlegging.

The police said 12 deaths have been reported so far.

According to the residents of the area, the first death was reported about four days ago. “The victims lost their vision, vomited and then died,” said Ved Prakash, a resident, alleging that about 15 such deaths have taken place in the past few days and some had also lost their vision.

According to the police, four men have been admitted to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital, two of whom two are in the Intensive Care Unit.

One of the dead has been identified as 30-year-old Ranjeet Kumar, a resident of Old F-Block in Raghubir Nagar. “I heard that another man living in New F-Block died on Sunday morning,” said Mr. Prakash, adding that many of the victims were from Gujarat who have been living in the area. The locals identified some other deceased as Kishan Lal, Jishan Qureshi, Prahlad, Ramesh, Nanak and Rajesh.

Delhi police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said: “A dozen cases of deaths due to suspected consumption of liquor have been reported from Raghubir Nagar in the past three to four days. The post-mortems have been conducted and four reports are out. While two have died of natural causes, one person died of liver cirrhosis and one of tuberculosis. No deaths were reported on Sunday.”

The Khayala police have so far registered four cases in connection with the deaths reported from different parts of Raghubir Nagar.

Late on Sunday night, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West Delhi) Sharad Agarwal said some of those who died had a history of alcohol intake. “Soon after we received reports of deaths due to suspected consumption of liquor, we intensified searches for bootleggers. We have arrested one of them, Seema, and have also seized a consignment of liquor.”

Samples of the seized liquor are being sent for chemical examination to ascertain if they are spurious. The police suspect that a particular brand of liquor that was consumed by the victims was contaminated.

In the wake of the deaths, the suspected bootleggers have vanished from the area. “Their houses are locked and they have gone missing,” said a resident.

The police had launched a drive against bootlegging after the recent deaths in Dabri. The area Station House Officer and six beat and divisional staff were also suspended for lack of supervision.