This Article is From Jun 23, 2015

102 People Killed in Mumbai Spurious Liquor Tragedy, Police Could Have Averted it, Allege Locals

102 people have died so far and many are admitted in hospitals in Mumbai spurious liquor tragedy.

Malad, Mumbai: 102 people have died in the Mumbai spurious liquor tragedy in Malvani colony in the western suburbs of Mumbai.

The state government has set up a high level committee under the chief secretary to probe the incident.

Speaking to NDTV, 35-year-old Naseem Ansari who lost her husband in the tragedy, said, "My husband started complaining at around 2am that day. I took him to hospital in a police jeep. He died at Shatabdi Hospital". Naseem works as a domestic help and supports her seven children.

After the tragedy, the police have raided over 150 such locations where liquor was brewed illegally and sold to gullible consumers.

Women like Naseem, who have been forced to shoulder the family burden because of the liquor addiction of their husband, have now come forward to help the police nab the culprits.

"We expect the woman to play a major part in this investigation and help us put an end to the menace. Our officers are going to these areas and engaging with the women and the response has been good," Additional Commissioner of Police Fattesingh Patil told NDTV.

But the locals in the area are alleging that the police could have averted the tragedy. They say that the accused had been operating in the area for years and the police ignored complaints filed against him.

"This has been going on here for ten to fifteen years. The police are only concerned about 'hafta', said Tahira Shaikh, who also lost her husband in the tragedy.

Another resident Mustafa Khan, who had visited the Malvani police station with documents to prove he had complained on the issue, told NDTV, "If the police had acted on my complaint in 2009, these 100 lives would have been saved. Since I had no influence they ignored my complaint. After I complained I was threatened and I mentioned that to the police."

Mr Khan alleges that it is an open secret that inside dingy rooms in the slums of Malvani and surrounding areas, hidden from public eye, addictive concoctions are prepared by mixing methanol with ethanol to give a cheap high to habitual drinkers. He said that bootleggers and suppliers operate without fear.

Meanwhile the political heat over the issue is rising with the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis not even having visited the area.

"I expect both Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Excise Minister Eknath Khadse to tender their resignations," Leader of Opposition, Maharashtra Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil told NDTV.