Mumbai Police have arrested the main accused in the Malad hooch tragedy. Mumbai Joint Commissioner of police (Crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni has informed that Atiq, who is the alleged kingpin of the Mumbai spurious liquor racket was arrested from Delhi today in a joint operation with the local police. The total number of arrests made in this case has now gone up to 8. While the death toll has climbed up to 102, more than 40 people are still recovering at various hospitals in Mumbai.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that he wants the guilty to be given the harshest possible punishment. Speaking to media persons in Mumbai today, Mr. Fadnavis said he would want the culprits to be hanged. Earlier in the day, the Maharashtra government set up a high level committee headed by Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshtriya to probe the Malad hooch tragedy. Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Maharashtra’s Revenue and Excise Minister Eknath Khadse said the committee will conduct a thorough inquiry into the case and submit a report within three months.
Mr. Khadse had earlier said the government would bring in a harsher law which will ensure that those arrested for distilling and selling illicit liquor would not get bail for at least for one year after their arrest.
On the other hand, Opposition leader in the state assembly, Radhkrishna Vikhe Patil has demanded a state-wide liquor ban. Blaming the BJP-led state government’s lapses for the tragedy, the Congress has also demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the Home portfolio and Excise Minister Eknath Khadse.
The incident that took place at the Laxmi Nagar slum in Malwani on Wednesday night has been the worst ever hooch tragedy that Mumbai has experienced. The incident has also led to the suspension of eight police officials and four excise officials. Meanwhile, Police and Excise personnel are carrying out extensive raids in suburban Mumbai from where illicit liquor is mostly sourced by bootleggers to be supplied to slums.