The tragedy that struck Ekkiyarkuppam and Perunkaranai villages of Tamil Nadu was due to the consumption of methanol, a deadly concoction made by illicit brewers, and not due to spurious liquor, the police claimed on Tuesday.
The organic chemical was procured from a man from Puducherry by various persons and it was used to brew the spurious liquor, a release from the DGP C Sylendra Babu said.
This light, volatile, colourless and flammable liquid is used for industrial purposes. Methanol has the odour of alcohol.
"Due to the effective measures taken to prevent the brewing of illicit liquor in Tamil Nadu, and also the enhanced vigil to curtail the movement of the illicit liquor, resulted in its non-availability in the state. Few persons resorted to selling the chemical substance stolen from industrial units. Hence, this tragedy," the release said.
Investigation is on to find out from which industrial unit this methanol was stolen and the nexus between those involved in this nefarious activity, the release further said.
"Samples of the spirit seized from Ekkiyarkuppam village near Marakkanam in Villupuram district and Perunkaranai village in Chengalpattu district were sent for analysis and the report stated that it was methanol and not hooch that led to the deaths," the release said and added two persons who sold the spirit were arrested and further investigation is on.
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During 2022 alone 1,40,649 prohibition cases were registered, and 1,39,697 people were arrested. About 37,217 litres of spirit and 2,957 vehicles were seized. This year, so far 55,474 cases were registered and 55,173 persons were arrested. Around, 2,55,078 litres of spirit were seized. Including 69 four-wheelers used in transporting illicit liquor 1,077 motor vehicles were confiscated and steps are on to detain 79 persons under the Goondas Act, the release said.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Ma Subramanian said about 55 people are undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the two districts after they took ill consuming the spurious liquor. An officer would be appointed to monitor the treatment being provided to them, he told reporters here.
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