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Indian state suspends 23 officials in crackdown on illegal liquor, as death toll hits 38

Indian women mourn around the bodies of two men, who died after consuming a bad batch of bootleg liquor in Datli village, about 30 kilometers (almost 20 miles) southwest of Lucknow, India, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. More than 25 people were killed and at least 160 others hospitalized, officials said Tuesday. Many of the victims were among more than 200 people who had gathered to watch a cricket match Sunday evening in the village. (AP Photo/Sanjay Sonkar)

Indian women mourn around the bodies of two men, who died after consuming a bad batch of bootleg liquor in Datli village, about 30 kilometers (almost 20 miles) southwest of Lucknow, India, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. More than 25 people were killed and at least 160 others hospitalized, officials said Tuesday. Many of the victims were among more than 200 people who had gathered to watch a cricket match Sunday evening in the village. (AP Photo/Sanjay Sonkar)  (The Associated Press)

Authorities in an Indian state have suspended 23 officials in a crackdown on illegal liquor sales, as the death toll among villagers who drank from a bad batch of cheap alcohol climbed to 38.

District Magistrate Raj Shekhar said investigators are looking into whether officials neglected to halt illegal liquor sales, possibly accepting bribes to ignore the trade.

Hospitals on Wednesday were still treating more than 100 people poisoned by homemade alcohol bought Sunday night from a village shop in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state. Officials said many people lost their eyesight and eight are in critical condition.

Inspector General A. Satish Ganesh said police raided shops and seized at least 1,700 liters (450 U.S. gallons) of illegal liquor across the vast and impoverished northern state.