16 dead after drinking illicit arrack in Kallakurichi

At least 16 people have died and over 70 others were hospitalised after reportedly consuming illicit ‘packet arrack’ in Tamil Nadu’s Kallaurichi district on Wednesday.

A laboratory test showed the presence of deadly methanol in the arrack samples. According to a government release, officials expressed concern that the death toll may go up.

While a press release from the Director of Information and Public Relations in Chennai on Wednesday night said five people had died and 24 more were hospitalised, official sources in the Kallakurichi district have put the death toll at 16 and the number of those who reported to the government hospital in Kallakurichi with symptoms at 72.

Of these, 32 had been referred to other hospitals like JIPMER in Puducherry and government hospitals in Salem and Villupuram.

The deceased have been identified as G Praveenkumar (26), D Suresh (40), K Sekar (59), S Vadivukkarasi, C Kandhan, P Jagadeesan, R Suresh, M Selvam, and M Arumugam. The names of other victims have not been confirmed yet.

A 49-year-old man, K Kannukutti has been arrested and an analysis of about 200 litres of illicit arrack seized from him has disclosed the presence of deadly methanol, the government said.

Chief Minister M K Stalin has ordered a CB-CID probe to ensure comprehensive investigation and the government transferred Kallakurichi District Collector Sravan Kumar Jatavath while Superintendent of Police Samay Singh Meena was suspended, a statement said.