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Tainted liquor kills 8 in eastern India

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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- At least eight villagers have died and about 45 more have been hospitalized after drinking illegally-brewed liquor in eastern India, officials said Tuesday.

Officials believe the brew made from molasses was contaminated with toxic methanol, or wood alcohol, said Choten Lama, a district magistrate in the state of West Bengal.

The liquor was sold from a home in East Midnapore, a predominantly rural district in West Bengal, she said.

Authorities launched an overnight crackdown on alleged illegal brewers, arresting at least 21 suspects, according to Lama, who said a local hospital is overflowing with intoxicated men seeking medical treatment after Monday's liquor-related deaths.

CNN's Harmeet Shah Singh contributed to this report.

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