Naidu panel issues notices to Odisha govt officials

The Naidu panel has asked secretaries of excise and health departments to file their respective affidavits after in connection with the Cuttack-Khurda liquor tragedy.

Cuttack: In its preliminary report, Justice AS Naidu Commission has neither given clean chit nor held any department or official responsible for the February liquor tragedy in Cuttack-Khurda districts in which at least 40 persons had died.

Amid confusion whether the people died consuming spurious liquor or spurious medicines, the commission yesterday asked secretaries of both excise and health departments to file their respective affidavits after refusing to accept the affidavits filed earlier by the deputy secretaries of these departments.

The commission also asked the government counsel to get information on what actions have been taken by concerned departments to ensure that tragedy of similar nature is not repeated.

Meanwhile, the state government has engaged two counsel to conduct the case before the commission.

In its preliminary report submitted to the government last month, it had made certain suggestions spelling out what measures to be taken by which departments to ensure that the incidents of liquor tragedies are not repeated again.

Fixing June 8 as the last date for receiving the affidavits, the commission once again invited statements from public along with affidavits pertaining to the incident so as to find the truth.
The commission has so far received as many as 75 affidavits along with statements.

The commission has also decided to visit Eastern Pharmaceuticals of Rasulgarh near Bhubaneswar on June 3 to enquire about preparation of certain drugs which were illegedly used as supplementary to liquor for its rich alcoholic content.

While ethyl alcohol to certain limit are permitted in some drugs, post mortem reports of those who died in February indicated presence of methyl alcohol in their bodies.

Methyl alcohol is industrial spirit which is supplied for industrial purpose only.