Accessibility links

Breaking News

Tainted-Liquor Toll in Mumbai Rises to 84

Family members of Raja Ludraswami Harjan, who died after drinking tainted liquor, cry at his funeral in Mumbai, India, June 20, 2015.

The death toll from drinking tainted liquor in a Mumbai slum climbed to 84 in the worst incident of its kind in more than a decade, police said Saturday.

Another 31 people, 13 of them in serious condition, were being treated in hospitals after drinking the cheap liquor Wednesday night in Malad, a northern part of India's financial capital, and immediately becoming sick, said Deputy Commissioner Dhananjay Kulkarni.

Kulkarni said police had arrested five people who transported and sold the tainted liquor to poor workers.

The Press Trust of India news agency said eight police personnel had been suspended for negligence of duty.

In 2004, 104 people died after drinking spurious liquor in Mumbai's Vikhroli area.

Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India because the poor cannot afford licensed liquor. Illicit liquor is often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase its potency.