PATNA/SARAN: In a major breakthrough, the Bihar Police on Friday arrested five people, including the main accused, in the Saran hooch tragedy case, a senior officer said.
A special investigation team, constituted by the state police in the incident, apprehended a homoeopathy compounder, allegedly the mastermind of the hooch tragedy that claimed 38 lives, saran superintendent of police Santosh Kumar said.
"Police seized a vehicle, used for transporting chemicals from Uttar Pradesh and supplying liquors in and around Masrakh in Saran. Empty bottles of chemicals that were used in manufacturing spurious liquor were also recovered," the SP said.
The SIT had earlier arrested nine people in connection with the case.
"The preliminary investigation revealed that the mastermind with the help of his associates used to manufacture spurious liquor by mixing homoeopathy medicine and sugar. They (accused) used to supply illicit liquor in several areas of Saran district through their vendors or associates," he said.
During interrogation, the arrested persons admitted that they supplied spurious liquor made of homoeopathy medicines in Saran district, the SP said, adding that one of the accused had also consumed the same liquor, but he survived after the treatment.
"Police have recovered a large number of empty bottles of chemicals that were used in manufacturing the spurious liquor from the Doela area of Saran. The investigation is on," the SP said.
Meanwhile, talking to reporters in Patna, Additional Director General of Police (HQ) Jitendra Singh Gangwar denied allegations that the spirit kept inside one of the police stations in Saran district was responsible for the hooch tragedy.
"Based on the initial investigation, it appears that no spirit kept inside one of the police stations in Saran was used for making spurious liquor. It is suspected that some other chemicals might have been used in the manufacturing of liquor. We are waiting for the viscera reports of all the deceased.
"These will reveal the type of chemical used in making the spurious liquor. Let the investigation complete, then only, we will be able to comment on anything specific," he said.
Strict actions will be taken against those who are found guilty, Gangwar said.
Action has already been taken against the station house officer (SHO) and other officials of Mashrakh police station in Saran.
Sale and consumption of liquor were banned in Bihar in 2016.