At least 13 locals from Bihar's Gopalganj district died within hours of each other under mysterious circumstances on Wednesday, reported IANS. The police said three people are in hospital, and they are believed to be in critical condition. While their families claimed they had died after consuming spurious liquor or hooch, the local administration did not confirm this and has instead ordered a probe into the matter.

The Nitish Kumar-led government had banned alcohol in the state on April 5.

According to their families, the victims consumed locally brewed alcohol on Tuesday evening, after which they complained of stomach aches and breathlessness. They were admitted to hospital after they started vomiting. All of them are residents of the Nonia Tola locality. When the families created an uproar, the Gopalganj district magistrate set up a three-member investigation team to look into the cause of the deaths.

However, Gopalganj Superintendent of Police Ravi Ranjan said this was not a hooch tragedy. "It is a matter of coincidence that they died one after another in a span of few hours," he said.