Bangalore, May 23: The death toll in the hooch tragedy in Karnataka has risen to 180 with the death of 30 more victims, police said. Labourers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu bought the liquor, and sold it in plastic pouches from illegal shops after lacing it with chemicals. At least 20 dealers were arrested by Thursday and 25 state customs officials suspended, but police said they were still unable to trace the source of the liquor sale.
Police are investigating whether the liquor was supplied by political parties ahead of the state elections in Karnataka this month. A doctor at the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Bangalore said that the consumption of spurious liquor was the likely cause of poisoning. "The first case came with symptoms of consumption of liquor and complaints of blurring of vision and vomiting. We sent the blood for examination. We are waiting for the report. So, we are suspecting the poisoning of methane alcohol which is otherwise called methanol," said Rajanna, a doctor.
In 1981, over 300 people died after consuming hooch in Karnataka.