At least 22 people have died in Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh since Friday night after consuming spurious liquor, PTI reported. The toll is likely to rise as 28 others are in a critical condition at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, an official said.

“According to figures available to us, 22 people have died after consuming illegal liquor,” Aligarh District Magistrate CB Singh told NDTV. “I have confirmed the figure from the medical officer. We are, however, still awaiting the official reports on this.”

Those who died were residents of villages under Lodha, Khair and Jawan police stations of Aligarh district. They had bought the spurious country-made liquor from a government-licensed shop that caters to the three villages, according to NDTV.

Kalanidhi Naithani, Aligarh police chief, said five accused have been arrested so far in the case. “Two accused are still missing, we have announced a reward of Rs 50,000 each on them,” he added, according to a statement. “From the arrested accused, we have found registers, booklets, bank account details, bottles of liquor, caps and bar codes.”

A relative whose brother died in the tragedy blamed the local administration for the incident. “There is so much negligence, there are so many bodies lying around here at the postmortem house and many more have already been cremated,” he told NDTV. “The administration is lying about the casualty count. No one has come to check on us.”

Deaths due to consumption of spurious liquor have been rising in Uttar Pradesh. On Tuesday, the police in Hathras district arrested 85 people and seized 1,700 litres of liquor. This was part of “Operation Prahaar”, launched after several residents fell sick allegedly after consuming spurious liquor in the district in April.