On 7 December 2015, five persons died and 29 others were hospitalised after they consumed spurious liquor at Swarna Restaurant and Bar at Krishnalanka in Vijayawada city. The liquor and water samples had been sent to Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL). The bar is said to be run by relatives of former Congress MLA Malladi Vishnu.
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has ordered a probe into the incident. An ex gratia of Rs. 5 lakh each to the kin of those who died was also announced. Excise Minister Kollu Ravindra visited the victims admitted to the hospital. Health Minister Kamineni Srinivas, Irrigation Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao and Agriculture Minister Prathipati Pulla Rao also visited the hospitals to inquire about the health condition of the victims. After returning from tour of north coastal Andhra districts, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu called on victims at Andhra Hospitals on Monday night. Speaking to media later, the Chief Minister promised stringent action against those responsible.
Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) RP Thakur and Vijayawada City Police Commissioner D Gautam Sawang visited the bar. Police and Excise officials took some of the bar workers into custody. Activists of BJP, CPI, CPI(M) and mahila sangams staged protests in front of the bar and at the Government General Hospital.
The victims who died are all natives of Nehru Nagar and all of them were daily wage labourers. The victims are identified as: P Gopi, Kalandhar, K Shankar Rao, Mastan Vali and M Mahesh.
The bar is said to be run by relatives of former Congress MLA Malladi Vishnu. The building in which the bar was being run belonged to Malladi Kiranmayee. According to the affidavit filed by Malladi Vishnu in the 2014 elections, he owns a share in the Swarnamayi Bar and restaurant. Vishnu's brother Malladi Srinivas is one of the partners of the bar.
On 10 December 2015, the State government has cancelled the license of the bar.
On 8 December 2015, the Krishna Lanka police arrested nine persons. Among the arrested are the bar manager, cashier, supervisors and workers. The arrested included T Venkateshwara Rao, N Venkata Nageshwara Rao, R Malakonda Reddy, KV Ramana Rao, T Venkata Raju, Banothu Sreenu, N Durga Rao, P Srinivasa Rao and A Bhupathi. Five persons were included in the FIR filed on Monday. Aside from the first four persons arrested, former Congress MLA Malladi Vishnu and some of his family members who are said to be partners in the business. However, the MLA and his family members were not arrested.
During interrogation, the bar staff reportedly confessed to mixing some chemical in the liquor served, but couldn't identify the chemical. The forensic analysis report is expected to be known on 11 December.
Prohibition and Excise Superintendent NV Ramana was accused of renewing license of Swarna Restaurant and Bar without checking whether the bar was being run as per norms stipulated by the licensing authority. On 10 December 2015, he was placed under suspension and ordered not to leave the city during the inquiry without the permission of the competent authority. Meanwhile, the Excise and Police officials have searched the premises of Swarnamayee Restaurant and Bar opposite Apsara Theatre and another bar at Nageswara Rao Pantulu Road at Gandhi Nagar. The bars are said to belong to the same partners who owns Swarna Bar and Restaurant.
On 11 December 2015, Malladi Srinivas, the brother of Malladi Vishnu, was taken into custody. Srinivas is the one of the three partners of Swarna Bar. According to the police, the SIT is conducting the investigation and more arrests are likely. Srinivas has reportedly told the police that the cashier Tata Venkateswara Rao has mixed some chemical in the liquor while serving the same to the customers.