Police have arrested eight bootleggers after more than 70 people died from liquor laced with poisonous methanol. Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India where the poor can hardly afford licensed brands.
More than 70 people have died in the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the past three days after consuming cheap spurious liquor containing poisonous methanol.
Police have arrested 30 people in the incident, including eight bootleggers. They have seized hundreds of liters of so-called country-made liquor. Regional authorities have also suspended several officials following the incident.
The city of Saharanpur's top administrative officer said a man had distributed some 30 pouches of the poisonous liquor that caused the deaths, Indian broadcaster NDTV reported. With some three dozen deaths, Saharanpur has been among the places worst hit by the effects of illegal liquor.
Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India because the poor cannot afford licensed brands. Illicit liquor is cheap and often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency.
Nearly 1,000 people die in the country each year after consuming illegally brewed alcohol, the National Crime Records Bureau data show.
ap/sms (dpa, AP)