The state consumer affairs department has initiated a suo motu case against 36 outlets in Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas for supplying rotten meat.
The move comes two months after the racket first came to light in April, when residents of Budge Budge had stopped a taxi carrying dead animals from a dump yard, leading to two arrests.
“On the basis of a police report, we have initiated a suo motu case against 36 outlets. Police will continue with their probe, but the cases in consumer court will be resolved faster and if the charges are proved, fines will be imposed on them. The fines will be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund,” said State Minister for Consumer Affairs Sadhan Pande. He further said, “The move was made after a clearance from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The consumer affairs department has already checked the legal aspects of it.”
Officials said provisions under 12 (1)(d) of the State Consumer Protection Act allow for a case to be initiated seeking compensation of up to Rs 1 crore. So far, 13 people have been arrested in connection with the rotten meat racket. After it was discovered in April, several police teams had started conducting raids across the state. The meat would be kept in cold storage, processed with chemicals and then supplied to eateries. The probe was first initiated by the South 24 Parganas police, after which it was handed over to the CID.
Bidhannagar police too had carried out a separate probe in their jurisdiction, after which several roadside eateries were sealed. Samples of several eateries in this area too were found to be unsafe and reports were submitted to the consumer affairs department.
Reports on the rotten meat racket had led to a 60 per cent fall in meat consumption in Bengal.