Many of those who died in Haridwar in Uttarkhand state and two districts in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh complained of stomach pains and respiratory problems, relatives and officials said.
Roorkee (Uttarakhand) [India], Feb 10 (ANI): Death toll due to consumption of illicit liquor in Roorkee touched 32 on Saturday.
In Saharanpur district, the death toll climbed from 16 to 36, top administrative official Alok Pandey told dpa by phone on Saturday.
Kumar said victims consumed liquor during two customary functions on Thursday night, adding that the post-mortem and initial forensic reports suggested that the brew was laced with methanol. Officials said several people have been detained for questioning. The police operation has also resulted in the seizure of 9,269 litres of spurious alcohol in Uttar Pradesh and of 1,066 litres in Uttarakhand.
"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.
Uttarakhand government has suspended 13 employees of Excise Department including the Excise Inspector of Roorkee region after 70 people lost their lives following the consumption of spurious liquor in the state and Uttar Pradesh.
Officials suspected the death toll is likely to go up in wake of many people admitted in hospitals. They seized more than 2,000 pints of tainted liquor in raids.
In December 2011, hooch tragedy killed 172 people in West Bengal.
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.