Liquor poisoning toll reaches 74 in Mumbai

MUMBAI: The death toll from India’s latest incident of mass alcohol poisoning following the consumption of toxic homemade liquor rose to 74 today, Mumbai police said.

The number of those who had died from drinking the moonshine had increased from 53 yesterday.

Seventy-four have died and 21 are receiving treatment in hospital. The toll is expected to increase further.

Victims first started to fall ill on Wednesday morning after consuming the illegal booze and patients are still being admitted to hospital today.

Five people have so far been arrested for distributing and selling alcohol in a slum in the suburb of Malad West, in the north of the city.

Eight police officers have also been suspended for “negligence” for allowing the sale to take place on their patch.

An investigation is taking place on whether high levels of methanol were present in the moonshine, often called “country liquor” in India.

Methanol, a highly toxic form of alcohol used as anti-freeze or fuel, is often added to bootleg liquor in India as a cheap and quick method of upping the alcohol content.

Unlicensed liquor is widely consumed across India where it is sometimes sold for less than a dollar for a 25cl bottle, with deaths frequently reported.