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.
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.
"Earlier, the police had arrested accused Vipin Yadav, with Rs 50,000 reward on his arrest, and Rishi Sharma's brother Munish Sharma carrying a bounty of Rs 25,000 in this case," the SSP said.
The district police chief said so far 17 FIRs have been lodged and 61 accused arrested in Aligarh over the deaths of people after consuming spurious liquor.
Multiple police teams, he said, have carried out investigation and searches in six states since the case came to light while a crackdown on the liquor mafia also started in Aligarh, Naithani added.
Nine people died after consuming spurious liquor found dumped in a canal near Rohera village in the Jawan area, officials said on Friday.
Another man died on Friday in Aligarh's Kodiyagunj village and officials link it with the same stock of liquor found in the canal near Rohera village on June 2 by some brick kiln workers.
The 10 deaths are apart from people killed in the first tragedy which broke out on May 28, in which 35 people are confirmed to have died of liquor poisoning.
(With PTI inputs)