Malappuram hooch tragedy: two more arrested

A police team investigating the recent hooch tragedy that claimed 26 lives in different parts of the district arrested two more persons in connection with the case. Crime Branch sources said that the arrests were made on Monday evening.

Praveen alias Ponnuttan, 31, from Palakkad and Raju, 34, from Malappuram were taken into custody for supplying spirit to Dravyan, owner of a toddy shop at Kuttippuram and the prime suspect in the hooch case.

A dozen-odd people, including Dravyan, had been arrested in connection with the case.

Vinson M. Paul, Additional Director-General of Police (Crime) refused to either confirm or deny Monday's arrests. Mr. Paul told The Hindu that the Crime Branch team investigating the case would not leave any stone unturned. “We would inspect the matter from every possible angle,” he said.

As many as 26 people, most of them from the district, were killed and several others lost eyesight after they consumed poisoned toddy from shops at Vaniyambalam, Kuttippuram, and Perasannur early this month.

The toddy supplied at those shops was found to have been mixed with methyl alcohol, a cheaper alcohol unfit for human consumption.

Also known as methanol, methyl alcohol can turn highly dangerous if ingested. Half a spoon of it, according to forensic experts, is enough to destroy one's eyesight, and any larger quantity can cause death. Ethanol or ethyl alcohol, which produces intoxication when digested, is the alcohol used for consumption. Ethanol is often illegally added to toddy to give it an increased kick.

Methanol, primarily an industrial solvent, is often mixed with ethanol to prevent the latter's use for human consumption. ime Branch sources said they got a rough idea about how methanol was mixed with the toddy supplied in Malappuram.

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