12 die drinking spurious liquor | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 02, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:19 AM, February 02, 2021

12 die drinking spurious liquor

DB arrests 6 for making counterfeit spirits

At least 12 people, including two students of a private university and three staffers of a media organisation, have died from allegedly consuming counterfeit alcohol in Dhaka and Bogura district over the last 48 hours.

Police said they are investigating the incidents.

In Dhaka, around 41 employees of the media organisation went to a resort in Gazipur last Friday for an office tour, according to sources.

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Some had alcoholic beverages and got sick. They returned to Dhaka for treatment, a team member, preferring anonymity, told The Daily Star.

After returning to Dhaka, many were hospitalised for poisoning. While undergoing treatment, two employees died on Sunday and another died yesterday, said the team member, who also received treatment after having the drinks.

Around 10 employees of the organisation are still undergoing treatment at different city hospitals and two are in the ICU, said another staffer.

"We are now providing blood samples to check the source of poisoning," he said.

Sources said they had collected alcohol from the city's Gulistan area.

Abu Aziz, officer-in-charge (Investigation) of Kafrul Police Station, told The Daily Star that they received a call about a private organisation employee, who got sick and died in a city hospital while undergoing treatment after returning to Dhaka from an office tour.

"We heard they had liquor and we are suspecting it was tainted. We sent the victim's body to Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College morgue for autopsy," said the OC.

Meanwhile, the morgue sources said they have kept samples from the victims' bodies to find the reason behind their deaths.

In Mohammadpur, a private university student, whose father filed a rape case on Sunday accusing five other students of the same university, allegedly died from counterfeit alcohol consumption, police claimed.

On Saturday, an accused in the case, Arafat, 28, also died at Mohammadpur's City Hospital, Harun-Ur-Rashid, deputy commissioner of Tejgaon Division, told The Daily Star.

"We are suspecting both the victim and the accused died from the alcohol they consumed. We are looking into the incidents," he added.

Meanwhile in Bogura, around seven people, including a father and son, died, and five others got admitted to hospital, yesterday after allegedly ingesting toxic liquor on Sunday night, reports our correspondent.

Four of them -- Suman Rabidas, 38, his father Premnath Rabidas, 50, Saju Mia, 55, and Polash Hossain, 35 -- were confirmed at Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital.

The other three were Alamgir Hosain, 55, Ramjan Ali, 60, Mozahar Ali, 70.

Suman Rabidas's brother Sujan said his brother bought tampered spirit from a Homeo Hall.

Police and witnesses said some people bought tainted alcohol from a homeopath medicine store in town and drank it after mixing other things into the night before the death for an special occasion at Premnath's house.

"We managed to have done the autopsy of Sumon, Saju and Polash by the evening confirming their deaths from alcohol poisoning. We found Premnath who died at 8.30pm drank liquor with his son," said Md Humayan Kabir, OC of Bogura Sadar police station, adding, "Another victim, Ramjan, died from cardiac arrest in the hospital but we have found that he also used to consume tampered alcohol."

Mozaher Ali had also bought tampered alcohol the night he died.

The OC said they have already started a drive against the Homeo halls that sell rectified spirit to these people. "A case is underway in this regard," he added.

Abdul Wadud, deputy director of Bogura Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital, said  a total of five people are now undergoing treatment in the hospital after having toxic liquor.

Regarding death of other victims, he said they would be able to get clearer information after the autopsies.

In Rajshahi, deaths from tainted alcohol consumption have been a regular occurance.

On January 1, at least 16 people were admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital in this regard. Around six of them died after a couple of days.

Investigating the deaths, Rajshahi Metropolitcan Police, on January 4, arrested four people and busted two dens where spurious liquor was being manufactured in Rajshahi city.

In Dhaka's Bhatara area, during the two hour long drive that began at 10:00pm, a team of the Detective Branch of Police (BD) busted a factory that was making counterfeit liquor. It seized around plastic bottles, several drum spirits, mineral water bottles and sugar syrup.

According to the law enforcers, the counterfeiters used to buy a gallon of spirit from the capital's Mitford area for Tk 10,000.

They then bought mineral water bottles, in which they would mix sugar, colour, and a portion of the spirit. They would pour their mixture in old bottles of alcohol from roadside shops and the "foreign liquor" would then be ready for sale.

Each bottles is being sold out in the market between Tk 7-8,000.

The DB yesterday arrested of six member of a syndicate involved with the process.

Mashiur Rahman, deputy commissioner of DB (Gulshan division), who led the operation, disclosed the details to The Daily Star at midnight.

He said they got information that in last two days, six people including a woman died after having foreign liquor in the city.

"Following the information, we started investigation and first tracked down the delivery person. Then we traced the supplier and then the whole seller

and finally got trace of the factory," he said.

The owner of the factory is Md Nasir, who used to sell foreign alcohol bottles after bringing those out from different warehouse. "We have already arrested Nasir," said the police official.

Md Jahangir, who basically used to sell old foreign liquor's bottles, became the chief chemist of the factory. The DB team also arrested him during the drive.

"We have already filed a case against these two masterminds and their four associates under special power act. Besides, murder cases will be also filed against the arrestees for intentionally selling harmful products," added the deputy commissioner.

Sources said a special instruction was issued from police to different warehouse of the city for not selling liquor to unauthorised persons from December 15 last year.

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