Fourteen people died and 10 others are in a critical condition after they consumed spurious country liquor at an illegal den in the Laxminagar slums, near Gamdevi Jurassic Park, Malwani, Malad. Officials said around 20-25 people may have consumed the liquor, including one woman. The Malwani police transferred the probe to the Mumbai crime branch and a case of culpable homicide was registered.
The police detained one Raju Fernandes alias Langada, and they suspect another woman, a senior citizen, was also involved.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered an inquiry into the case and asked for a report within two days.
Those who died include autorickshaw drivers, rag pickers and scrap collectors. Police sources said most had consumed liquor the previous night, while some had it in the morning.
The effects began to show a few hours after consumption, when the victims started vomiting. Those affected — most are between 30 and 40 years of age — were taken to nearby hospitals. The Malwani police formed six teams to verify the number of people affected by the hooch and also to collect evidence in the case. Officials said Langada was selling plastic packets of the hooch for Rs10 to 30 along with GM country liquor.
The police sealed the room where the liquor was being sold and also sealed a house where Langada was storing it.
Officials said Langada, who is in his early forties, has been selling liquor in the area for the past 15 years. A previous case of selling liquor illegally was registered against him nearly 10 years ago. Of the 13 dead, six were at Shatabdi Hospital, three in Prime Hospital, one in KEM, another in Siddhartha Hospital and two in Jankalyan Hospital. Of the seven patients who are critical, one is in KEM and six are in Shatabdi Hospital.
Additional commissioner of police (North Region) Fatesingh Patil said, “Fourteen people died and 11 have been hospitalised and in critical condition. The man who sold the liquor has been taken into custody. The other accused are wanted.”