Mumbai, June 23:
The Maharashtra government on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into the hooch tragedy in north Mumbai’s Malwani suburb which has claimed 102 lives so far.
Excise Minister Eknath Khadse said the probe will be conducted by Chief Secretary S. Kshatriya and the report is expected to be ready within three months.
Khadse’s announcement came after a meeting of the state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The state government earlier announced a compensation of Rs. 1 lakh each to the families of those who died after consuming the killer brew on June 17.
The local police and Crime Branch have so far nabbed 20 persons in connection with the incident.
Besides, the government has suspended eight police officials and four state excise officials for negligence of duty that led to the deaths of over a hundred people.
The Mumbai police have also cracked down on bootleggers in the city and suburbs and so far seized over 70,000 litres of hooch meant for distribution in country liquor bars.
Khadse on Monday said the government plans to amend the laws pertaining to the sale, storage and transportation of country liquor to avoid similar tragedies in future, officials said.
He added that the government plans to amend the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act with proposals to take strong action against production and sale of hooch and against bootleggers.
The minister added the government is considering invoking the stringent provisions of the MPDA and Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act against the bootleggers, akin to the sand mafia in the past.
“Many people have been arrested in raids against bootleggers since January but they were released on bail. We will make provisions to ensure that the bootleggers don’t get bail for a year and a proposal to this effect will be brought before the cabinet,” Khadse said. (IANS)