MADRAS, India -- Illegal homemade liquor laced with methanol killed at least 27 people in southern India and hospitalized 120 others, police said Friday.
It was the third mass liquor poisoning in the area since September. At least 89 people have died despite a government ban on shops selling such liquor.
In the latest incident, three people, including the liquor vendor, were arrested and three policemen were suspended from work for dereliction of duty, said M. Chidambarasamy, the deputy director-general of police. Thirty other policemen were transferred as punishment.
"All the symptoms show that the liquor seems to have been adulterated with methanol," said S. Jayaraj, the chief medical officer at the Government Hospital in Cuddalore town.
"The condition of many is still serious and the toll can go up further. We are not taking any chances," he said.
Liquor poisonings are common in India. Cheap homemade brew is mixed with methyl alcohol, which in too large a dose can cause blindness or death.