28 killed, 60 sickened by counterfeit booze in India

At least 28 people have died and 60 have become ill after drinking counterfeit booze in western India, officials said.

The deaths occurred in the Ahmedabad and Botad districts of the Indian state of Gujarat, where the production, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.

The police said that technical methyl alcohol stolen from a chemical plant was used for the manufacture of alcohol. Sun USA reports.

“The liquor they consumed was 98% methanol, which means they only consumed methanol, which added to the death toll,” Bhavnagar Police Inspector General Ashok Yadav said. Times of India.

Ashish Gupta, chief of the Gujarat State Police, said that several bootleggers suspected of being involved in the sale of alcohol-laced alcohol had been arrested.

They include the owner of the chemicals used to make it, Jayesh Khawadia of Narola, and eight alleged accomplices.

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The victims are agricultural workers and sanitation workers who did not initially report their illness for fear of being arrested.

Local authorities have formed 100 teams that will go to the villages to ensure the hospitalization of the victims.

Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India, where illegal liquor is cheap and often contains chemicals like pesticides to increase potency.

The sale and consumption of alcohol is banned in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, where only those with a government-issued permit can drink liquor.

Liquor trafficking has also become an extremely lucrative industry, with bootleggers paying no taxes and selling vast quantities of their products to the poor at low cost.

In 2020, at least 120 people died after drinking tainted liquor in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

And in 2019, more than 100 people died in agony in two Indian states from smuggled alcohol after funerals.

The death toll from this incident is considered the deadliest outbreak since a similar incident killed 172 people in West Bengal in 2011.

Local media reports that alcohol was first drunk at a funeral in Uttarakhand before people from Saharanpur in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh brought it home and sold it to others.

An autopsy revealed that the liquor contained methanol, commonly referred to as wood alcohol, a chemical that attacks the central nervous system.

This article originally appeared in Sun USA and reproduced with permission

Originally published as At least 28 people have died and 60 have become ill as a result of a mass poisoning in India.