Four persons have died and eight others have been hospitalized in Khujand, the capital of the northern Sughd province, after eating New Year's pilaf.

The Khujand prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into the case to find out the cause of poisoning.

“Meanwhile, an autopsy carried out on one of victims has revealed sodium nitrate (niter) in his stomach” an official source at the Khujand prosecutor’s office told Asia-Plus in an interview.    .

According to him, criminal proceedings have been instituted under the provisions of Article 108 (2) of Tajikistan’s Penal Code -- causing death by negligence.

Among those dead are Marouf Aliyev, 57, Komil Zoirov, 67, Komil Badriddinov, 52, and Nosir Toirov, 56.