Thirteen more people, including the owner of a chemical factory, were arrested in Aligarh for their alleged involvement in illicit liquor trade as police continued raids in connection with a hooch tragedy, which has claimed at least 36 lives so far, officials said on Tuesday.
With this, the number of people arrested for their alleged involvement in illicit liquor trade has risen to 33, they said.
In a major breakthrough, the owner of a chemical factory was arrested from his plant at the Talanagri industrial estate and a large amount of methyl alcohol seized from the premises on Monday night, Aligarh senior police official Kalanidhi Naithani told reporters.
This methyl alcohol was being supplied to manufacturers of illicit liquor, he said.
Kalanidhi Naithani said the factory owner was arrested on the basis of leads gathered during the interrogation of one of the main accused in the hooch tragedy case.
Nine more people were arrested in separate raids across the district last night. Three others were arrested on Tuesday and pouches of spurious country-made liquor recovered from them, the police said.
Since the first deaths in the hooch tragedy were reported on May 28, the police have been carrying out raids across the district to seize illegal liquor.
The district authorities have been sending teams to villages to urge people not to consume liquor bought a week ago.
The police said efforts have also been intensified to trace Rishi Sharma, one of the main accused in the hooch tragedy case. A reward of Rs 50,000 has already been announced for his arrest.
Sharma, who allegedly has strong political connections, has managed to evade the police for days.
Late on Monday evening, the Uttar Pradesh government suspended Excise Commissioner P Guruprasad and two other senior officials in connection with the hooch tragedy. Several police officials have also been suspended.