Bad Hooch Kills 102 in Calcutta

Methanol-spiked booze blamed for villagers' deaths
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2011 1:19 AM CST
Bad Hooch Kills 102 in Calcutta
Relatives of victims gather at Diamond Harbor hospital, south of Calcutta.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – A bad batch of illegal liquor has killed at least 102 people in villages that fringe Calcutta. Dozens more are critically ill with alcohol poisoning. Traces of highly toxic methanol were found in the victims, who were mostly poor day laborers and rickshaw-pullers who bought the hooch in pouches for some 25 cents a liter, the BBC reports.

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Authorities demolished makeshift distilleries and bars after the deaths, and pledged to crack down on corrupt cops involved in the illegal liquor trade. "A section of low-ranking policemen may be involved. If we find that our men are in cahoots with those trading in illicit liquor, we will take action against them," a district police officer tells the Calcutta Telegraph. The deaths are the second tragedy to hit the Indian city in the space of a week. At least 91 people were killed in a hospital fire last Friday. (Read more Calcutta stories.)

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