Mumbai hooch toll climbs to 87; 4 officials suspended
The death toll in the Malad hooch tragedy on Saturday climbed to 87 even as the Excise department suspended four of its officials in connection with the incident.
According to Mumbai Police spokesman Dhanajay Kulkarni, 87 people have died so far while 34 are
undergoing treatment at eight different hospitals across the city.
The incident occurred at Laxmi Nagar slum near Gamdevi Jurassic park in suburban Malad on Wednesday night.
Police has already arrested five accused in the case but prime accused Mainka Bai is still on the run.
Earlier too, we had booked Mainka Bai alias Akka in connection with spurious liquor but she managed to get bail, he added.
The officials who were suspended are: Jagdeesh Deshmukh, Rajendra Salunkhe, Versha Vengulkar and Dhanaji Dalvi, against whom a departmental enquiry would be launched soon, said State Excise Department Commissioner Shyamsundar Shinde.
"These officials were found to be incompetent and prima-facie its a case of dereliction of duty," Shinde told a news agency. Also, eight personnel attached to Malwani police station have been suspended after the incident.
Earlier, the highest death toll in a hooch tragedy stood at 87 in suburban Vikhroli in December 2005.
Meanwhile, taking precautionary measures to avoid further loss of lives, Mumbai police has launched a manhunt to trace those who might have consumed spurious liquor that day.
"We are checking every home in the vicinity and asking them whether they consumed liquor on that day. We found eight such persons and have admitted them to a nearby hospital," said a police official.
The Excise department in the last one year booked as many as 117 cases of illegal distribution of hooch in Malwani.
Govt protecting illicit businesses: Cong over hooch tragedy
With the toll in Malad hooch tragedy here reaching 84, the opposition Congress on Saturday alleged that BJP-led Maharashtra government was protecting illicit businesses. State Congress chief and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said at a press conference here that the tragedy was sad and unfortunate. “Illicit businesses have the state government’s protection and hence such incidents take place. Police and excise department officials turn a blind eye to illicit liquor trade. Responsibility needs to be fixed and officials need to be held accountable. The tragedy has exposed the poor functioning of the home and excise departments,” Chavan said.