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At least 28 dead, dozens sick in India after drinking spiked liquor

India Liquor Deaths
Man who fell ill after consuming spiked liquor, is brought for treatment to a hospital in Ahmedabad, India, on July 26, 2022. Ajit Solanki / AP

Ahmedabad, India — At least 28 people died and 60 others became ill after drinking altered liquor in western India, officials said Tuesday.

Senior government official Mukesh Parmar said the deaths occurred in the Ahmedabad and Botad districts of Gujarat state, where manufacturing, sale and consumption of liquor are prohibited. It wasn't immediately known what chemical was used to alter the liquor.

Ashish Gupta, Gujarat state's police chief, said several suspected bootleggers who were involved in selling the spiked alcohol have been detained.

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

Illicit liquor has also become a hugely profitable industry across India, where bootleggers pay no taxes and sell enormous quantities of their product to the poor at a cheap rate.

In 2020, at least 120 people died after drinking tainted liquor in India's northern Punjab state. 

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