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West Bengal hooch toll rises to 173

December 17, 2011 20:40 IST

With two more deaths being reported on Saturday in the state's worst-ever hooch tragedy in West Bengal, the toll rose to 173, officials said.

At the Diamond Harbour sub-divisional hospital, two of the victims passed away while ten were released on Saturday. Ninety-six patients were released yesterday while 16 are still admitted there, hospital sources said.

In Kolkata's Bangur Hospital, National Medical College Hospital and Behala's Vidyasagar Hospital, sixty hooch victims are being treated now.

The victims, most of them being labourers, rickshaw pullers and hawkers, fell ill after consuming spurious liquor from several illegal joints on Tuesday night. Preliminary investigations suggest that they died due to methyl alcohol toxicity which led to respiratory and cardiac failure.

Arrested hooch manufacturer Rafi-ul-Naskar was produced in the court today who has been given a police remand of 14 days.

A total of 18 people have been arrested in the case so far, police said they are searching for another accused Noor Islam Fakir.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced a CID inquiry into the tragedy after which a five-member CID team has been visiting the spot daily to investigate the case since Thursday.

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