Mumbai hooch tragedy toll rises to 41 

Mumbai, June 19 (IANS) The toll in the illicit liquor tragedy in a suburban bar in Mumbai shot up to 41 on Friday with 21 more people succumbing to the poisonous brew, a top police officer said here.

“The number of deaths is now 41. Another 25 victims are still undergoing treatment in various hospitals. Medical condition of at least 12 is critical,” police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni told IANS.

Police have cracked down on the law enforcers by suspending eight officials, including senior Police Inspector of Malwani police station Prakash S. Patil, three officers and four constables, Deputy Commissioner of Police Kulkarni said.

Two people, identified as Raju Langada and Shankar, have been arrested for the tragedy as they allegedly transported illicit pouches of liquor from the Vasai-Virar region in adjoining Thane.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered an inquiry into the incident and sought a report within two days, an official spokesperson said here.

The victims, mostly living in Laxmi Nagar slums and employed as low-paying drivers, daily labourers etc., had consumed the cheap country liquor at a bar in Rathodi village here on Wednesday night.

Since Thursday morning they started developing symptoms of poisoning, including vomiting, abdominal pains and burning sensation in eyes and sudden collapse.

Their alarmed family members rushed them to local hospitals, but some of them died on way. Many of the victims hail from Gulbarga region of Karnataka.

Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil said Mumbai Police Crime Branch has taken over the probe into the incident.

Teams have been formed to trace the origins of the spurious liquor, those involved in brewing, selling and transporting it and other aspects, officials said.

This is the first major illicit hooch tragedy in Mumbai since December 23, 2004, when hooch claimed 87 lives.

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