Mumbai hooch prime suspect held in Delhi

Maharashtra forms panel to probe incident

Mumbai hooch prime suspect held in Delhi

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in north-east Delhi’s Jaffrabad in connection with the Malvani hooch tragedy in Maharashtra, in which 102 people have died and 46 are still under treatment at various hospitals in Mumbai.

The man was hiding at one of his friends’ house, and was nabbed during a joint operation carried out by the Delhi and Mumbai Police. The Mumbai Police had earlier arrested seven persons and seized over 1,000 litres of spurious liquor.

Mansoor Khan, alias Ateeq, who hails from Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur district, is the prime suspect in the case. 

The police said Mansoor had supplied a chemical, believed to be methanol, to distributors Francis D’Mello and Salim Shaikh. “Mansoor will be handed over to the Mumbai Police after being produced before a court on Wednesday,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (North East) Veenu Bansal.

The accused will be produced in east Delhi’s Karkardooma Court, where the Mumbai Police will seek his transit remand.

The arrest was made after the Mumbai Police's Crime Branch of approached the Delhi Police with information on Mansoor’s possible hideout in Jaffrabad.

In Mumbai, Mansoor had been staying in Malvani with his wife. They fled Mumbai on learning that the police were making arrests over the deaths. 

Sources said the couple travelled by road with a stopover in Gujarat. “We established that Mansoor’s friend lived at a JJ cluster in Jaffrabad. A raid was conducted to nab him at 12:30 pm on Tuesday,” said Bansal.

During interrogation, Mansoor’s friend told the police he came to the house on Sunday. Mansoor, however, did not inform him about the police search or his involvement in the case. The police are also looking to nab a Gujarat-based businessman for supplying methanol to Mansoor. 

Mansoor used to procure methanol from Ahmedabad and distribute it in Mumbai, following in his father's footsteps. Meanwhile, a committee headed by Maharashtra Chief Secretary Dr Swadheen Kshatriya has been formed to probe the hooch tragedy.

The decision was taken at the weekly Cabinet meeting presided over by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.The panel has been tasked with bringing out a report highlighting all aspects of the issue and combat measures. 

“The committee will carry out a detailed probe and no one would be spared,” said Revenue and Excise Minister Eknath Khadse. Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said while 102 people have lost their lives in the tragedy, Fadnavis, who is also the home minister, has not yet visited the spot.  

“Fadnavis and Khadse must resign immediately,” he said, adding that the incident has shown that the government has no control over the administration. 

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