The toll due to consumption of spurious liquor in Malad on Sunday, June 21, climbed to 90, making it the worst hooch tragedy in the city, even as the excise department suspended four of its officials in connection with the incident.
According to Mumbai Police spokesperson Dhanajay Kulkarni, 90 people have died so far while 34 are undergoing treatment at eight different hospitals across the city.
The incident had occurred at Laxmi Nagar slum near Gamdevi Jurassic Park in Malwani in suburban Malad on Wednesday night.
Police have 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,” Kulkarni said.
The Excise officials who were suspended are: Jagdeesh Deshmukh, Rajendra Salunkhe, Versha Vengulkar and Dhanaji Dalvi against whom a departmental inquiry would be launched soon, said State Excise Department Commissioner Shyamsundar Shinde.
Also, eight personnel attached to Malwani police station have been suspended after the incident.
Earlier, the highest death toll in a hooch tragedy was 87 in suburban Vikhroli in December 2005.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police have launched a search for others 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 117 cases of distribution of hooch in Malwani.
Antop Hill police raided an illegal shop in Sion-Koliwada Area and and seized 40 litres of illicit liquor.
“We had information of illicit liquor being sold in the area. So we raided the shop and seized the liquor,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 4), Ashok Dudhe said.
“City Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria has instructed all DCPs to crack down on illicit liquor shops and this raid is the operative part of Maria’s instruction,” he added.
Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde visited Malad to take stock of the situation while Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam held a demonstration at Malwani Police station.