The Gujarat government has set up a three- member probe panel to look into more than 15 cases of spurious alcohol-related deaths in Vareli village near Surat over the past one week. The state home department has transferred police officials and ordered an inquiry against them for negligence of duty that led to the incidents.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, "We have appointed a high-level panel to probe in to the matter that prima facie appears to have happened due to consumption of spurious liquor. The team would visit the place of incident and along with forensic report, it will provide state government a complete picture of the real situation." He said his government will not spare anyone found involved in the case.The committee comprises Additional Director General of Police VM Pargi, prohibition and excise director BK Kumar and deputy director of forensic science laboratory MS Dahiya, reported The Hindu.

The panel was set up after locals protested against inaction on the part of the administration following the deaths since September 4, according to IANS. District Development Officer and Collector (in-charge) K Rajesh said, "Prima facie all the post mortem reports suggest presence of methanol. We have sent all the reports to Forensic Science Laboratory. Once we receive FSL report we would be able to establish the exact cause of death."

Chief District Health Officer Megha Mehta said the patients showed symptoms of having consumed spurious liquor, however, it could be some kind of a new virus as well. She said the samples have been sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune for confirmation. Alcohol is banned in the state.