Updated: June 1, 2021 10:06:04 pm
As liquor shops remain closed in Tamil Nadu owing to the coronavirus lockdown, tipplers in the state are resorting to brewing spurious arrack with fatal consequences. The state-run Tasmac liquor stores in the state were open during earlier lockdowns.
In Mayiladuthurai, two people died Sunday after allegedly consuming spurious arrack; the local police said the duo had used an unknown chemical to brew it.
On Saturday, Prabhu (33), who worked at a printing press and Selvam (36), a daily-wage labourer, of Senthangudi village consumed the arrack that they had prepared themselves. They also offered it to six other villagers. Soon after, when all eight of them reached home, they experienced discomfort and some even reportedly faced vision problems.
Selvam died at his residence while the rest were admitted to the Mayiladuthurai Government Hospital. Prabhu passed away on Sunday. A probe has been launched into the incident and four special teams formed.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, the superintendent of police, Mayiladuthrai, Shreenatha said after an initial investigation it was found that Prabhu had brewed liquor using certain chemicals he had obtained from his workplace and other items from hardware stores and mixed them with lemon and soda. “Both Prabhu and Selvam had brewed illicit arrack earlier as well and they believed that their combination of chemicals was right. On Saturday, they even sold it to fellow villagers,” he said.
The police are also investigating how the accused managed to procure items to prepare the brew and whether there were more men involved in the practice.
Samples of the chemicals used to prepare the arrack have been sent to a laboratory for testing.
Shreenatha said many people are procuring ingredients to make the arrack from local medical shops. “We held a meeting with representatives of all the medical stores and asked them not to sell items that could be used to prepare illicit arrack. We are also carrying out raids in the area. The public has been alerted to notify us if they come across any of such illegal activities,” he said.
Similar cases have been reported from Thenkasi, Nagapattinam, Tiruvannamalai, Pudukotai and other places.
Viduthalai Selvan, an activist who has spent many years fighting against illicit alcohol, said the lockdown is forcing people to brew illicit arrack.
Gang tie watchman, ‘raid’ Tasmac
In another incident, an unidentified gang broke open a Tasmac liquor shop near Kollankudi village in Sivaganga district on Saturday night. According to sources, the gang had tied the watchman with a rope. The Kalayaar Koil police registered a case and special teams have been formed to nab the gang.
According to reports, the stolen liquor is worth over Rs 1.25 lakh. The outlet is located on the way between Kollankudi and Muthur. An alert passerby noticed that the steel shutter locks were broken and informed the store supervisor who informed the police.
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