India probes spurious liquor incident that killed 28

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Rameshbhai Shankarbhai Rathva is brought to a hospital for treatment in Ahmedabad
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By Sumit Khanna

AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) -Authorities in India's western state of Gujarat are investigating an incident in which at least 28 people died and more than 50 were admitted to hospital after drinking spurious liquor, an official said on Tuesday.

Industrial methyl alcohol stolen from a chemical unit was used to make the spurious liquor, Gujarat's Director General of Police, Ashish Bhatia told reporters.

"The crime has been cracked in less than 24 hours. Cases have been registered and 13 persons have been named, of whom a majority have been rounded up. Further investigation is being carried out," he said.

The incidents took place in the adjacent districts of Ahmedabad and Botad. Bhatia said. Local police officials said six people had been arrested so far.

Sales and consumption of alcohol are prohibited in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where only those holding a permit issued by the government can consume liquor.

Deaths from illegally produced alcohol, popularly called hooch or country liquor, are common in India, where few drinkers can afford branded spirits.

(Reporting by Sumit Khanna in Ahmedabad; Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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