GUWAHATI, June 4 - The excise department has suspended six of its staff after at least seven people, including a woman, died consuming hooch in Barpathar subdivision of Golaghat district in the past 72 hours.
On the directions of Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya, a special Excise Intelligence Bureau (EIB) team has been rushed to Golaghat for conducting a separate probe. Dhansiri SDO (Civil) Bipul Das is also conducting a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
Official sources said the EIB team led by a DSP rank officer has been asked to collect the samples of hooch and conduct tests to ascertain if the liquor was denatured or have decayed due to the presence of food particles.
Assistant excise inspector Rudra Gogoi, excise constables Dulu Morang, Golap Regon, Imran Hussain, Rahul Amin and Prasanta Gogoi have been placed under suspension with immediate effect.
�It is a clear case of negligence of duty. The excise personnel are supposed to carry out enforcement drives so that such harmful liquor is not sold to people,� a senior excise official said.
The Excise Minister has also directed the Golaghat district administration to arrest excise staff if found guilty.
Dhansiri SDO Bipul Das told The Assam Tribune over telephone that a suo motu FIR has been taken, without naming any accused. �On completion of the inquiry, if we find any official involved, they will be named in the FIR,� Das said.
Meanwhile, taking cognizance of the incident, Golaghat Deputy Commissioner Gaurav Bothra today directed the excise superintendent to conduct raids at suspected places and book people found guilty under the newly amended Excise Act.
Chairing the District Development Committee meeting held at Golaghat today, the deputy commissioner asked the excise department officials to ensure strict compliance of the law so that such incidents do not occur in the future, the local DIPR office said in a press release.
Since Friday night several people of Singimari and adjoining villages under Barpathar police station started falling critically ill after consuming illicit liquor. They were admitted to local government hospital and in the last three days, seven have reportedly died.
Police have detained two persons � one suspected of supplying the hooch and another reportedly selling it from his kiosk near the affected villages.