Staff Reporter

He had dodged the police for nearly two years

35 persons died in the tragedy and several others become blind

Till date 33 persons have been arrested in this case

BERHAMPUR: Rajendra Palai alias Kaira, the main accused of the spurious liquor deaths in Huma area of Ganjam district surrendered before the judicial magistrate at Khallikote after two years on Tuesday.

Since last two years he had managed to dodge the Ganjam police teams trying to nab him. Police teams had also gone to Ahmedabad and Surat in search of him. But he had managed to escape . Police did not get any information beforehand about his surrender also. He was sent to judicial custody as his bail plea was rejected.

Key person

He was allegedly the key persons behind the sale of spurious liquor that claimed over 35 lives and blinded several others in Huma area in 2006.

Deaths due to spurious liquor had started at the villages near Huma from March 17 and continued till April 23 that year. Police had named 36 persons in relation to this liquor tragedy in its charge sheet. With the surrender of Rajendra, the number of persons nabbed in relation to the incident had raised to 33. Meanwhile, three others related to the liquor deaths are yet to be arrested. The persons, who are yet to be arrested are Kishor Mahakud of Huma, illegal spirit suppliers from Bihar, Biswanath Mahato and Sunil Nahak.

Spurious liquor deaths had also occurred on April 23, 2008 at Golabandha village. Eleven persons had died in the second liquor tragedy in Ganjam district that year. Police had termed 19 persons as accused in the Goalanthara liquor tragedy case. Thirteen of them were arrested. Meanwhile, one of the prime accused in the case, Dharma Rao, who had sold spurious liquor at the village died in jail.

It may be noted that the then State excise minister, Kalindi Behera had to resign following these two liquor tragedies in Ganjam district. The State Government had constituted a judicial commission under Justice P.K. Patro to investigate the liquor tragedies.

The Patro commission has already filed its report but actions related to the recommendations of the commission are still awaited.