Chennai, May 20: The toll in one of the worst-ever Hooch tragedies in Tamil Nadu mounted to 32, with 16 more deaths being reported since late last night at Hosur in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu.
Reports received here said the break-up of deaths was not immediately available. The deceased included women.
With fresh cases being admitted to hospital, after they consumed the killer brew on Saturday night at Billamangalam village in the district and Solur village in Karnataka, officials fear that the toll would rise further.
At least 30 people were admitted to Hosur Government Hospital alone. The condition of some of them, who also reported irritation in eyes, was critical, and they were referred to Salem and Krishangiri Government Hospitals.
The victims were construction workers, who had allegedly consumed the illicit brew, which had contained a high dosage of methanol, at the village. They hailed from Thali, Thenkanaikottai, Billamangalam and neighbouring areas of Krishnagiri district, bordering Karnataka, where too more than 70 people had died in a hooch tragedy the same day.
Police have so far arrested a couple, Parvathi and her husband Girish, a notorious bootlegger in connection with the tragedy.
While Parvathi was arrested yesterday for selling the brew, Girish was arrested immediately after the tragedy came to light on Sunday morning when eight people, who had consumed the brew the previous night while returning home after working in Anekkal in Karnataka, died in their sleep.
Police have launched a manhunt to nab another bootlegger, Ellappan, who had distilled the brew and supplied it to Parvathi.
Meanwhile, top police officials from both the States held a high-level meeting at Hosur and discussed about the steps to be taken to prevent illicit arrack menace.