After the Malwani hooch tragedy, the crime branch, along with local police stations, have started a city-wide crackdown on illicit liquor shops, especially in slum pockets. Teams have been formed to raid dens in areas up to Vasai and Virar.
The Malwani incident, in which 89 people have lost their lives so far, also prodded the state government to act against negligent officials in the excise department, with four staffers suspended on Saturday.
“All suspended officers, including an inspector, were posted at the Andheri excise state office, and the Malwani area was their responsibility. They have been suspended for negligence,” said Prasad Surve, director, enforcement and vigilance of the state excise department.
The crackdown on illicit liquor vendors saw at least 40 people, including women, being detained between Goregaon to Dahisar. “After this incident, we are acting against illicit liquor suppliers in the entire zone, and have detained 40 people, including women,” said Vikram Deshmane, deputy commissioner of police (Zone 11).
The crime branch on Saturday produced Francis D’Mello and Salim Shaikh, two other accused who were arrested on Friday night, in a local court that remanded them in police custody till June 26.
Officers are on the lookout for a woman named Mamta, who sells liquor in the area, and another called Lata alias Akka, in connection with the case. Three people – 50-year-old Raju Hanmanta Pascar, Donald Robert Patel, 47, and Gautam Harte, 30, – were arrested on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Those who fell ill ad consumed liquor sold by the three.
The police are also trying to trace the route through which the liquor was brought to Malwani. Sources said in the past, liquor would be adulterated in the Aksa beach and Borivli areas, but it may have come to Malwani from the Vasai-Virar belt.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam organised a morcha in Malwani to protest the incident.