Morning Breaking: Poisonous liquor kills 42 in Uttar Pradesh

39 dead and dozens sick after drinking illicit toxic liquor in India

But the current death toll is believed to be the deadliest outbreak since a similar case killed 172 in West Bengal in 2011.

Eight more deaths were reported in another tragedy blamed on tainted liquor in Kushinagar district, also in Uttar Pradesh, regional official BD Gupta told the dpa news agency.

An estimated 91 people have died in Saharanpur and Haridwar, adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand states, after consuming the methanol-laced brew on Thursday.

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In Saharanpur, besides the 36 deaths reported on Saturday, 23 more victims died at a government hospital in nearby Meerut city that they had been referred to.

Newspaper reports said around 3,000 people linked with the illegal trade were arrested across Uttar Pradesh in the aftermath of the tragedy.

"This is preliminary stage of investigation and people are being brought for questioning but it will be decided later as to against whom the cases will be registered", a senior police official said.

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Officials said the liquor was first consumed in neighboring Uttarakhand where villagers from Saharanpur attended a funeral, and was then smuggled back to Saharanpur district by a villager who then sold it to others. Deaths as a result of consuming such alcohol are in the headlines regularly.

The authorities have suspended 13 excise department personnel and four policemen in Uttarakhand. They seized hundreds of litres of tainted liquor in raids.

At least 39 people have died and another 27 have fallen sick from drinking cheap liquor containing toxic methanol in several villages in northern India.

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