While teams in Delhi and Gujarat nabbed a major hooch dealer and two key methanol suppliers respectively, Crime Branch officials in city are now focusing on a gangster from Malwani, who has considerable political heft and is known as ‘Daddy’ like Dagdi Chawl’s gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli
Making progress in the investigations into last week’s hooch tragedy the toll in which has risen to 106 the Crime Branch has arrested a major supplier from the city, who had fled to Delhi, and detained two key methanol suppliers from Vapi in Gujarat.
Also read: Mumbai hooch tragedy kingpin held in Delhi
The police have also learnt of a major gangster from Malwani called ‘Daddy’ like the Dagdi Chawl gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli who has a lot of political clout in the area. Crime Branch officials said dealers like Francis D’Mello (in pic, circled), who is the prime accused in the hooch deaths, operated openly because they had this Daddy’s blessing.
Moving up the ladder
mid-day had reported yesterday how Crime Branch teams had fanned out to various parts of the country. Officials said these teams have made key breakthroughs. The team in Delhi nabbed Mansoor Khan alias Atik, a liquor and methanol supplier to Mumbai’s western suburbs, who had fled the city following the tragedy.
While Francis D’Mello, whose batch the killer hooch is suspected to have come from, is a major supplier of spurious liquor in the Malwani region, Atik is suspected to one step higher than him in the pecking order. Crime Branch officials said Atik controlled the supply of hooch and the methanol added to it for the ‘extra kick’ to the whole of the western suburbs.
“Atik is a big player and supplies hooch not just to Malwani but to other parts of the city too. He has been operating for more than four years and has connections with the police and political parties. After the June 18 incident, he fled to Delhi and went into hiding at the residence of one of his relatives. He was brought to Mumbai on Tuesday,” said a Crime Branch official.
The Crime Branch team in Vapi, Gujarat, meanwhile, detained two methanol suppliers, Irfan and Deepak Patel, who supplied the chemical regularly to Atik and others engaged in the manufacture and distribution of illicit liquor across Maharashtra. Officials said methanol suppliers in Gujarat had gone underground after they caught wind of police teams chasing them and that the duo had been detained with the help of informers.
“From the very beginning, we knew that distributors of methanol to city, who were out to make a quick buck, were responsible for the deaths. We have already approached the Gujarat government to find out about the manufacturers and distributors of this chemical because it is being supplied to every part of the country from that state,” an official said.
“Our team in Gujarat is likely to come back with Irfan and Deepak tomorrow (Wednesday) and we will produce them in court. We are hoping they will reveal the names of others who procure methanol from them as well,” he added.
Crime Branch officials in the city have now shifted focus to a Malwani-based gangster, who is known in the area as Daddy and has significant political heft.
An official said that around four months ago, a sub-inspector from the Malwani police had conducted a raid at Francis’ unit and successfully seized around 15 drums of spurious liquor, but a case was not registered after the PSI’s seniors received a call, and the promise of large sums of money, from this Daddy.
Political parties are also reportedly known to take help from Daddy during elections because of his hold over the area, and his daughter stood as a candidate and got elected as a corporator because of him. “We came to know about this Malwani-based Daddy during our investigations and the arrested accused have also revealed his name, but we cannot arrest him until we have concrete evidence of his connection with this tragedy.
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We have learnt that most of the tempos in Malwani, which are used to carry illegal liquor, belong to him and Francis D’Mello is very close to him and runs his hooch business with his blessing,” said a Crime Branch official. He added that Daddy has a big gang and local residents in the area are afraid to talk about him or Francis with the police.