ALIGARH (UP) :
THE key accused in the last month’s Aligarh hooch incident, which has claimed at least 35 lives so far, was nabbed in the early hours of Sunday, police said. Accused Rishi Sharma, who carried a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his arrest, was held near Bulandshahr border in western Uttar Pradesh, Aligarh Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani said. Sharma, whom the police described as the kingpin of the liquor mafia, was named in 13 different cases connected to the recent liquor tragedy, and was nabbed this morning on the Aligarh-Bulandshshar border as he was about to slip out of the district after being holed up in his hideouts since the past nine days. On Saturday, the police had raised the bounty on Sharma from Rs 75,000 to Rs 1 lakh.
His wife, son, two brothers and a nephew were arrested in the last five days. The search for Sharma was extended to half a dozen neighbouring States and several districts, where he had his network. The police were tracking over 500 cell phone numbers belonging to his close circle. Police were tipped off on Saturday night that Sharma would be travelling to Bulandshshar in an SUV.
He was nabbed in his vehicle, which was carrying a large cache of spurious liquor, police said. Nearly 50 people have died in Aligarh since consuming spurious liquor on two different occasions recently, according to police, while officials estimated that the death toll could go up to 100 as autopsy reports of another 50 hooch consumers were awaited. “In a major breakthrough in the hooch incident, key accused and Rs 1 lakh rewardee Rishi Sharma has been arrested from near Bulandshahr border,” Naithani said.