Kallakurichi illicit liquor tragedy: Death toll mounts to 59

As of now, a total of eight victims have recovered and been discharged since the day of the tragedy, June 18.
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The death toll in the Kallakurichi illicit liquor tragedy increased to 59 on Tuesday, June 25. Another 159 victims remain under medical treatment in various hospitals. So far, eight of the victims have been discharged and have been able to return home after a full recovery.  Presently there are 111 victims at the Kallakurichi Government Medical College and Hospital, 11 at JIPMER, Puducherry, 29 at the Salem Government Medical College and Hospital, 4 at the Villupuram Government Medical College and Hospital and 1 at the Royapettah government hospital. 

On June 18, the victims, most of whom hail from Karunapuram village in Kallakurichi began showing extreme symptoms of abdominal and chest pain, blurred vision, nausea and fainting spells. It was found later that all of the victims were suffering from methanol poisoning and that illicit arrack they had consumed was laced with the substance. The death rose rapidly overnight from seven victims to 34. The three main accused Kannukuty (a) Govindaraj, his wife Vijaya and his brother Dhamodharan were all arrested on June 23 and remanded to judicial custody. Kannukutty, Vijaya and Dhamodharan have been booked under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 304(2) (Punishable for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and Tamil Nadu Prohibition Act sections 4(1)(i), 4(1-A) (Prohibition of the manufacture of, traffic in, and consumption of, liquor and intoxicating drugs and Punishment for manufacture of, traffic in, and consumption of, liquor and intoxicating drugs). 

The methanol supplier, a man identified as Sivakumar from Chennai was also arrested on the same day by the CB-CID. 

It has further come to light that the tragedy occurred after years of official complicity and a nexus between the bootleggers and the local police.

Read: Ground Report: Lethal nexus of bootlegger and corrupt cops led to Kallakurichi tragedy 

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