BHUBANESWAR: The death toll in the hooch tragedy rose to 34 with death of one more person at a hospital in Cuttack today while Odisha government placed two excise department officers under suspension, official sources said.
Laxmidhar Behera of Badajharilo village under Cuttack Sadar police station area succumbed to illness taking the death toll in the hooch tragedy to 31 at the hospital, said the hospital's emergency officer Dr B N Moharana. While 31 persons died at the SCB Hospital in Cuttack, three others became victims of the hooch at different hospitals in the state capital, sources said.
Hospital authorities today discharged at least 15 patients after improvement in their condition while 45 others had left the hospital without informing the authorities. A case was lodged with the police on this, Dr Moharana said.
"We could not save the life of Behera while two other hooch-related patients were still struggling for life at the medicine department ICU," Moharana said adding the condition of two others at the ICU was also critical. He, however, said 80 patients had been successfully treated at the hospital. Of the 111 patients admitted at the Medical College Hospital, only 16 persons (9 in medicine ward, 5 in eye ward and two in ICU) are now under treatment, Moharana said.
Meanwhile, the state government suspended excise inspector R B Patra and sub-inspector Mrutunjay Behera on charge of dereliction in duty, said Excise Commissioner Sudarshan Nayak after attending a review meeting by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Police, excise sleuths and the health department continued their raids and arrested several people across the state. "We arrested 65 people today itself on the charge of indulging in illegal liquor trade," the Excise Commissioner said.
Meanwhile, the commissionerate of police today produced before a court four persons of a private pharmaceutical company accused of manufacturing high methyl alcohol mixed cough syrup. All the four persons were remanded to judicial custody, a release issued by the Chief Minister's Office said.