28 dead and 60 sick in India after drinking contaminated alcohol

At least 28 people have died and 60 others have fallen ill after drinking contaminated alcohol in western India, officials said on Tuesday.

A senior government official, Mukesh Parmar, said the deaths occurred in Ahmedabad and Botad districts in Gujarat state, where the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol is banned. It was not immediately clear what chemical was used to modify the liquor.

Gujarat state police chief Ashish Gupta said several suspected smugglers involved in selling the doped alcohol have been arrested.

Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India, where illicit alcohol is cheap and often fortified with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency.

Illicit alcohol has also become a hugely profitable industry across India where traffickers pay no taxes and sell huge quantities of their product to the poor at low prices.

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