Mumbai: 5 more families say hooch killed their loved ones, cops blame it on illness

Police have sent three of the bodies for post-mortem to know the exact cause of death

Five more families came forward on Monday claiming that the deadly hooch in Malwani had claimed the lives of their loved ones. Police, however, are attributing these five deaths to previous illnesses. All the five deceased lived in the same residential society and worked in Rathodi, the epicentre of the tragedy that unfolded last week.

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Suresh Patel, one of the deceased, worked in a bangle factory in Rathodi
Suresh Patel, one of the deceased, worked in a bangle factory in Rathodi

The deceased were identified as Jaipal Dulgaj (50), Anil Ramesh Singh and Swami Khanna (50) all of whom were BMC sweepers and Chandan Patel (30) and Suresh Patel (52), both working in a bangle factory in Rathodi; the last two are not related to each other.

According to their families, the deceased regularly consumed alcohol and, on Wednesday, drank the illegal liquor that went on to claim at least 104 lives. Police officials confirmed that the men indeed would drink regularly, but that they died due to illnesses. Ramesh Patel, the brother of Suresh Patel, said, “My brother was an alcoholic and he died after drinking this hooch.

Though he had tuberculosis (TB), his condition had been normal for the last many years. We are very sure he drank hooch in Rathodi on Wednesday. We admitted him to a hospital on Friday and he died on Saturday. According to the death certificates (mid-day has seen them) of the five men, Suresh and Chandan Patel died due to TB, Dulgaj had jaundice and Singh and Khanna died of cardiac arrest.

Police have not registered an accidental death report in the incident and declared the deaths as natural. Milind Khetle, senior police inspector, Malad police station, said, “Suresh and Chandan Patel had been suffering from TB from last many years. Dulgaj had jaundice. Singh and Khanna died due to cardiac arrest. No one died due to illicit alcohol of the Malwani hooch tragedy.”

All five lived in a transit camp in Gudiapada, in the Kanchpada area of Malad (West). The families of Suresh Patel and Anil Singh performed the last rites on Saturday. The police sent the other three bodies for a post-mortem. Guardian Minister Vinod Tawde declared a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the families of the people who died in the tragedy on Friday.

A police official, speaking to mid-day on condition of anonymity, suspected the family of trying to connect the deaths to the hooch incident to try to get the compensation amount.

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