A tempo transporting 700 kilograms of meat, suspected to be beef, was intercepted in Govandi on Tuesday morning, days after the Maharashtra Police issued an advisory directing its personnel that “gau rakshaks” should not be allowed to harass meat traders and take the law into their hands. No FIR has been filed and the police sent the meat for forensic analysis. The police said it had information that the tempo would be arriving at road number 9 in Baiganwadi, a large slum abutting the municipal garbage dump in Mankhurd.
A vehicle matching that description was found at 7 am. Inside, the police found the meat, said a senior police official.
The Shivaji Nagar police station seized the tempo and the meat and let the tempo’s driver and cleaner go. Shahaji Umap, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone VI, said a sample of the meat had been sent to the Kalina Forensic Science Laboratory to confirm whether or not it was beef while the rest was sent to the BMC to be disposed of.
“We will wait for the report of the chemical analyser before taking further action,” he said. The police suspect that the meat originated from a village in Panvel, Raigad district, from where the tempo had left. A senior police officer said that investigations are under way to identify the supplier as well as the person to whom the consignment was to be delivered in Baiganwadi.
The two men in the truck, both 25 years old and residents of Panvel, were allowed to go after the police seized the truck. “We will call them next after the FSL submits its report,” said the officer. The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act makes the slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks illegal and prohibits the transport and sale of their meat.
The previous significant seizure of beef in Mumbai took place in April last year when the Mumbai Police Crime Branch raided a godown in Dharavi and seized 6.5 tonnes of cow and ox meat. It arrested three people — the owner and supervisor of the godown as well as an employee.
Last month, the Railway Protection Force found a suspicious parcel in the Punjab Mail at CST railway station, which turned out to be 95 kilos of suspected beef. The Government Railway Police booked a Bandra-based man for ordering the consignment of meat. Samples of the meat were sent to the FSL for testing, the police said.