Malwani Hooch Tragedy: Four Held Guilty

Malwani Hooch Tragedy: Four Held Guilty

A special court in Mumbai has held four accused guilty in the Malwani hooch tragedy, while the rest ten accused were acquitted. Additional Sessions Judge Swapnil Tawshikar found the accused—RRaju Tapkar, Donald Patel, Francis D’mello, and Mansur Khan—gguilty of criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and other charges under the Indian Penal Code and Bombay Prohibition Act.

The court will hear the prosecution and defense arguments on sentencing on May 6.

The Tragedy

Nine years ago, in Malvani’s Laxmi Nagar, 106 people lost their lives and another 75 suffered injuries, some even losing their eyesight permanently because of contaminated liquor. This was labeled as the worst ever hooch trade in the city, and the Sessions Court found the above-named men guilty of procuring and selling contaminated liquor in the Malvani area for a mere ₹10 to ₹20 per piece. The majority of the victims were daily wage laborers from Malwani, including construction workers, sewage cleaners, and sweepers.

Court’s Observations

The judge held that all the accused were criminal conspirators, as they were all involved in buying the chemicals from Gujarat and selling them to vendors. The judge held Raju Tapkar, aka Raju Langda, and Donald Patel accountable for selling illegal liquor. Along with them, the distributor Francis Thomas D’mello and the prime hooch supplier Mansur Khan were also held accountable for this terrible tragedy.

While delivering the verdict, the court stated that the prosecution has proven that Mansur Khan obtained the chemicals from Gujarat, transported them to the city, and distributed them to illicit liquor sellers.

The court, however, rejected the prosecution’s arguments and acquitted the other ten accused in this case, stating that despite analyzing almost 240 pieces of evidence, there wasn’t a clear chain of evidence that could prove their( the ten accused who got acquitted) involvement in the criminal conspiracy.

The four convicts were found guilty of violating sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 304(II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), and 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as relevant sections of the Bombay Prohibition Act.

On May 6, the court will hear arguments from both the prosecution and the defense to decide upon the sentence for the accused.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon