Six people died and a dozen others were being treated at a hospital in Vijayawada after drinking toxic liquor at a bar alleged to be unlicensed, police said on Monday, in the latest incident of alcohol poisoning.
Most of the victims were said to be daily-wage labourers who went to the Swarna Bar at Hotel M in Krishnalanka before going to work.
Bootleg liquor is widely consumed across the country, with frequent reports of deaths. Methanol, a toxic form of alcohol used as an anti-freeze or fuel, is often added as a cheap way to increase the alcohol content.
While two people succumbed immediately after consuming the liquor early on Monday, four others died while being treated at the hospital.
“Forensic teams are collecting evidence from the spot which would be sent for examination. The shop has been sealed and the police are probing the matter,” Vijayawada police commissioner Gautam Sawang said.
In June this year, 92 people had died in Mumbai after drinking toxic home-made liquor. In one of the worst incidents in a decade, nearly 170 people died in West Bengal in 2011 after drinking moonshine.
Andhra Pradesh excise minister Kollu Ravindra said evidence related to the Vijayawada incident was being collected. “We will not spare anyone who is responsible for this mishap. We are collecting CCTV footage and other evidence. We will also take action against the erring officials,” he said.
Chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu earlier spoke to the district collector and ordered a thorough probe into the matter.