Mumbai hooch toll 102, Cong demands CM's resignation
The toll in Mumbai's worst hooch tragedy rose to 102 on Monday as five more victims, who had consumed spurious liquor in Malad area, succumbed in a city hospital Another 46 are undergoing treatment in various hospitals of Mumbai, with eight of them stated to be in a critical condition.
Squarely blaming the BJP-led government for the tragedy, the Opposition Congress asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to step down, owning moral responsibility and demanded a CBI inquiry into the case. So far, seven persons have been arrested in the case and eight police and four excise officials suspended.
Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam said: "Excise Minister should take responsibility of this tragedy and quit. Since the Home Department is with the Chief Minister, he should also resign." Lamenting that the state does not have a full-fledged Home Minister, he said when the death toll is increasing on <g data-gr-id="52">hourly</g> basis the Chief Minister was busy doing Yoga.
He added: "Since the onus for the death of over 100 people lay at the Chief Minister's <g data-gr-id="37">door step</g>, he should resign."
He said when a similar tragedy happened in Vikhroli in 2004, <g data-gr-id="42">claming</g> over 87 lives, the then Congress-NCP Government had suspended the local DCP and raided and shut illegal <g data-gr-id="43">distillaries</g> across Mumbai. After the BJP-led Government came to power, the <g data-gr-id="44">suprious</g> liquor trade had flourished and now there are about 1000 hooch dens, he alleged.
Rattled by the tragedy that occurred at the Laxmi Nagar slum in suburban Malwani on Wednesday night, Excise Minister Eknath Khadse said the Government would bring in a harsher law to deal with the menace with provisions to ensure that those arrested for distilling and selling illicit liquor would not get bail for at least for one year after their arrest.
"Since January this year, 117 raids have been conducted in Malad and nearby areas in suburban Mumbai.Several people have been arrested. But, they have been let off on bail of Rs 2,000. The need of the hour is to make stringent laws," he said.
Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative <g data-gr-id="40">Assembly ,</g> Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, who visited the kin of the <g data-gr-id="39">victims,demanded</g> <g data-gr-id="38">resignation</g> of Khadse.
After tragedy, govt mulls to amend law
In order to stop the production and sale of illicit liquor, Maharashtra government is considering a proposal to amend the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Slumlords, Bootleggers, Drug Offenders and Dangerous Persons Act (MPDA). Excise Minister Eknath Khadse told reporters that the government is considering a proposal to amend the act in which stringent action will be proposed against production and sale of illicit liquor. "At present, police take action against spurious liquor production, but <g data-gr-id="60">stringent</g> action is required," he said. Khadse said just like provisions of <g data-gr-id="59">MCOCA</g> and MPDA were invoked against the sand mafia earlier, the government is planning to invoke the provisions in the production of illicit liquor.
Crackdown on illegal liquor dens in Thane
Mumbai: In the wake of the hooch tragedy that has claimed 100 lives, state minister Eknath Shinde has ordered wiping out of the '<g data-gr-id="47">haath</g> <g data-gr-id="48">bhattis</g>' (furnaces) in Thane. "In Thane there are a number of places where illicit alcohol is being made and sold. I have ordered officials that they identify all <g data-gr-id="49">haath</g> <g data-gr-id="50">bhattis</g> and destroy them," he said.