22 tribals dead after consuming spirit in Maharashtra

Alibag (Maharashtra): Twenty two tribals, including eight women, died after consuming spurious liquor at a village near the pilgrimage town of Pali, about 60 kilometres from Alibag. Twelve other tribals were in serious condition in hospitals in the Raigad district and in Mumbai, Revenue officials in Alibag said on Thursday, adding the death toll is likely to go up. The tribals are suspected to have purchased the spirit from the shop of one Subhash Oswal in Pali over the last week and the first of the casualty was reported on Wednesday morning, police said.

"Twenty-two people have died in the incident and 12 more are serious," Residential Deputy Collector Ramesh Survade told reporters in Alibag. Oswal was arrested on Thursday along with two of his employees Dattatray Musale and Vilas Musale and the trio has been charged for culpable homicide, police said.

"Oswal has a license for selling spirit but cannot sell the goods for the consumption of humans," said a senior police official. Consuming spirit for more kicks is popular among the tribal 'katkaris' of the district and the police suspect that something was amiss with the spirit sold by Oswal due to which the tribals fell ill.

The deceased hail from hamlets in the vicinity of Pali which houses the revered Ballaleshwar Temple. State Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has announced ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased. (PTI)