Methanol-Laced Liquor Kills 155 in Eastern India

Posted December 16th, 2011 at 2:55 am (UTC-5)
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Officials in eastern India say the death toll from people consuming a toxic batch of homemade liquor rose Friday to more than 155 people.

Officials say some 100 people remain critically ill after drinking the liquor laced with the chemical methanol.

The victims, mostly day laborers and poor workers, became sick after buying cheap alcohol from bootleggers late Tuesday near the village of Sangrampur in West Bengal state.

Officials say police have arrested 12 people for allegedly making and distributing the tainted liquor.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered an investigation into the liquor deaths.

Authorities have warned the death toll is likely to rise.

Banerjee vowed Thursday to crack down on illegal liquor brewers, who often spike their alcohol with chemicals to increase potency.

On Wednesday, villagers angered by the deaths ransacked local breweries suspected of selling the tainted liquor.

Alcohol poisoning kills hundreds of people in India every year.