Skip to main content

Moonshine kills at least 133 in India

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
updated 9:58 PM EST, Thu December 15, 2011
  • Police raid liquor vendors
  • At least 327 people are hospitalized
  • Police arrested four suspects
  • Authorities fear the death toll could rise

New Delhi (CNN) -- Authorities raided liquor vendors in the Indian state of West Bengal Thursday, after at least 133 people died and hundreds of others were sickened from drinking moonshine, according a health official.

At least 327 people were hospitalized. Many people were in critical condition and S.P. Basak, the director of the West Bengal health department, feared the death toll could rise.

Police arrested four people suspected of selling the illegally-brewed, cheap liquor, said Officer M. Das. Authorities sealed off a factory believed to be making the hooch.

The victims, mostly poor villagers, bought the 200-milliliter (7-fluid-ounce) pouches of moonshine for about 10 cents each, Nigam said. The cheapest brands of liquor produced legitimately cost about 70 cents for a 600-milliliter bottle.