New Delhi(PTI): The toll in Mumbai’s worst hooch tragedy rose to 102 on Monday with the death of five more victims who consumed spurious liquor in Malad area and another 46 are in hospitals with eight of them struggling to survive serious ill-effects of the killer brew.
Squarely blaming the BJP-led Government for the tragedy, Opposition Congress asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to step down owning moral responsibility and demanded a CBI inquiry into it. So far seven persons have been arrested in the case and eight police and four excise officials suspended. All of those arrested are in police custody.
Stepping up the heat, 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 hourly basis the Chief Minister was busy doing Yoga. “Since the onus for the death of over 100 people lay at the Chief Minister’s door step, he should resign,” he said.
He said when a similar tragedy happened in Vikhroli in 2004, claming over 87 lives, the then Congress-NCP Government had suspended the local DCP and raided and shut illegal distillaries across Mumbai. After the BJP-led Government came to power, the suprious 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 Malvani 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 Assembly , Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, who visited the kin of the victims,demanded resignation of Khadse. “The loss of lives is also due to the negligence of the Shatabdi Hospital run by the municipal corporation,” and wanted the hospital authorities and health officer of the ward be booked for homicide.