Dozens of people have died after drinking toxic homemade liquor in a slum in India's western city of Mumbai. Many others are still being treated in hospital.
At least 84 people have died and 21 others are being treated in hospital after drinking illegally brewed alcohol in a Mumbai slum, police said on Friday.
Dhananjay Kulkarni, Mumbai police deputy commissioner, said the victims started to fall ill on Wednesday after consuming the illicit drinks. The first deaths were reported on Thursday afternoon, he added.
Witnesses said many of those who drank the liquor started vomiting and complained of severe abdominal pain before collapsing, according to German news agency dpa.
Samples of the drink have been sent to forensic laboratories to be analyzed, Kulkarni said.
According to the police, three suspects, including the main accused Raju Langda, are being held in custody.
The commissioner also said that eight police officers have been suspended for a "negligent approach while discharging their duty," for failing to stop production and sale of the liquor, according to news agency AFP.
The incident in Mumbai was the worst case of its kind to be recorded in the western Indian city in more than a decade
Less than a dollar a bottle
The illegal liquor trade is booming in India, with deaths frequently reported. Bootleg liquor is much cheaper than commercially produced alcohol; a 25 centiliter bottle can be had for less than a dollar (88 euro cents).
Methanol, a highly toxic form of alcohol used as an antifreeze or fuel, is often added to bootleg liquor in India as a cheap and quick method of increasing the alcohol content.
It is rare, however, for such incidents to occur in a major city like Mumbai, with most cases taking place in poor, rural villages.In January, for instance, 38 people died after consuming homemade liquor in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Kulkarni said the incident in Mumbai was the worst case of its kind to be recorded in the city in more than a decade.
ra/cmk (AFP, dpa, AP)