Andhra Pradesh

Ten arrested in sanitiser deaths case

Prakasam SP Siddharth Kaushal briefing Enforcement Director Vineet Brijlal on the seizures of sanitiser, in Ongole on Tuesday.  

The Prakasam police on Tuesday arrested 10 persons, including five from Hyderabad, in connection with the illegal manufacture and sale of sanitiser which left 16 persons dead after they consumed it mixing with soft drinks and water, in the COVID-19 hotspot of Kurichedu in Prakasam district.

“The arrested have been booked under, among other sections, the Section 27 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act which provide for imprisonment of not less than five years and may extend to life imprisonment,” said Enforcement Director Vineet Brijlal, under whose supervision the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by Prakasam SP Siddarth Kaushal probing into case.

Investigation revealed that the brew containing poisonous methanol, which is meant for industrial use, was produced by a small-time manufacturer Jajulu alias ‘Sale Srinivas’ from Jedimetla in Hyderabad.

“Jajulu worked in a petrol filling station. He started manufacturing sanitiser after seeing a video clip on the social media, without obtaining licence for it. He wanted to make a quick buck cashing in on the huge demand for sanitiser in the wake of the pandemic,” the SP said.

Raids intensified

Raids are being intensified by Joint teams of the Special Enforcement Bureau, Excise and Drugs Control administration to unearth the manufacturers and distributors of illegally made sanitiser in the State, the Enforcement Director said.

As many as 551 vulnerable persons have been identified from 689 places in the State till date and counselled on the ill-effects of consuming sanitiser by organising more than 2,000 awareness meets and 9,654 excise offenders have been bound over.

Eight brands identified

The SP said that the SIT zeroed in on eight brands which the deceased had allegedly consumed after collecting 69 bottles of sanitiser from different places.

A detailed probe being conducted in the neighbouring State led to the arrest of five persons who have been identified as ‘Sale Srinivas', Siva Kumar, Keshav Agarwal, Md. Dawood and Md Hazi. They are facing the charges of manufacturing sanitiser without obtaining valid licence.

The SIT led by Markapur Officer on Special Duty K. Chowdeswari also arrested five shop owners —T. Sudhakar Rao, Devahi Phani, K. Ramesh, K. Subba Rao and T. Surendra Kumar—from Kurichedu on charge of selling the illegally made sanitiser for consumption as a substitute for liquor.

The police have also seized among other things 600 bottles of sanitiser, drums filled with chemicals including methanol.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 1:26:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/ten-arrested-in-sanitiser-deaths-case/article32329932.ece

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