While three persons died at a hospital in Bhadrak, another succumbed on the way to Cuttack. (File Photo)
Bhadrak: At least five people died and 28 others fell ill on Tuesday after they allegedly consumed spurious liquor in a "post-election feast" in Odisha's Bhadrak district, police said.
The tragedy struck late Monday night, a few hours after polling for the fourth and final phase of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly elections in the state was over.
Locals claimed that the victims had bought the liquor with the money provided to them by political parties before the polls on Monday, while the police said the entire episode is being probed.
"We have information that people in Daulatapur and another village under Tihidi police station limits had bought the liquor from a local market for a post-election feast," Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Umakanta Moharana said.
Excise Secretary Nikunja Bihari Dhal said a joint investigation is being conducted by revenue, health, excise and police departments.
"As the incident took place on polling day after voting was over, we are taking the matter seriously," Dhal said.
While three persons died at a hospital in Bhadrak, another succumbed on the way to Cuttack, the SDPO said.
Another person died in the village before he could be taken to the hospital, Inspector In-Charge of Tihidi police station Prabhansu Mishra said.
Excise Commissioner Upendra S Punia, who rushed to the area after the incident, told PTI that a forensic team visited the site and collected samples for test.
He said around 40 people were taken to the district headquarters hospital in Bhadrak after they fell ill and currently 28 are under treatment.
Additional District Medical Officer P K Khuntia said the villagers complained of nausea, stomachache and loss of eyesight after consuming the liquor Monday night.
The district administration has ordered an inquiry to ascertain the cause of death and the circumstances that led to the tragedy, a senior official said.
Punia said a clear picture will emerge after samples collected from the area are tested and post-mortem reports of the deceased are available.
Angry over the incident, villagers blocked the Bhadrak-Chandabali road causing massive traffic snarls on the thoroughfare, the SDPO added.