The alleged hooch tragedy raised concerns in Bihar where alcohol is prohibited. (File photo)
At least 13 people have died in Bihar's Gopalganj district allegedly after drinking toxic liquor. Five others are in critical condition at a government hospital, the police have said.
According to families of those killed, the men had complained of uneasiness and breathlessness, followed by stomach pain and vomiting, after they consumed local alcohol on Tuesday evening.
Their condition deteriorated on Tuesday night and later they died in the hospital, the police said.
The incident has sparked alarm in the state where liquor has been outlawed since March this year as part of an election promise by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, raising concerns about the availability of illegal alcohol.
Rahul Kumar, Gopalganj district Magistrate, constituted a three-member team and ordered a probe into the incident. "It is too early to say anything about the exact cause of the deaths," Mr Kumar said.
However, Gopalganj Superintendent of Police Ravi Ranjan refuted the rumours of toxic liquor consumption.
"It is a matter of coincidence that they died one after another in a span of few hours," Mr Ranjan said.
Additional Director General of Police Sunil Kumar said at least 4,707 people were arrested during the last four months and 3,719 police complaints were lodged in connection with flouting of the liquor ban.