Charges of murder and attempt to murder have been added against the nine accused arrested in the Malwani hooch tragedy case. At least 104 people were killed and several others hospitalised after they drank diluted methanol sold to them as liquor.
Mumbai police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of police (detection), said, “We have invoked sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code to the case after seeking legal opinion. As the accused who were caught from Gujarat and Silvassa knew that they were dealing with methanol, a poisonous substance, yet sold it for non-industrial use leading to the deaths, the charges have been applied.”
Officials in the crime branch said the newly added charges of murder will strengthen the case once the trial begins. On Friday, the crime branch officers informed the magistrate court about the charges of murder and attempt to murder. So far, nine people including two women have been arrested during the investigation of the hooch tragedy.
The accused were previously only charged with culpable homicide along with other sections of the Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy, causing hurt using poison and destruction of evidence.
Crime branch officers said they had enough evidence to establish the fact that those arrested were aware that they were selling methanol, which is poisonous. Despite having knowledge of this fact, they continued selling it as alcohol, an officer said.
The tragedy happened on June 19 when locals of Rathodi village in the Malwani area of Malad (West) complained of dizziness, loss of vision and vomiting and were rushed to hospitals. The death toll began to rise and reached 104 within a week.
The nine arrested accused includes a Silvassa-based chemical supplier Kishore Patel. All accused have been sent to judicial custody till July 24.