Navi Mumbai police seized around 14 tonnes of beef while it was allegedly being transported into the city on January 18. The driver of the vehicle carrying the meat has been arrested and the police are trying to identify the source of the meat and those involved in transporting and storing it. Forensic tests have confirmed that the seized meat is beef.
On January 18, Kalamboli police got a tip-off about illegal substance being transported. “We saw an air-conditioned container speeding down the highway towards Mumbai. When we stopped the driver (near Kalamboli) and checked his consignment, we realised it was packed meat. He did not have verification papers or certification allowing him to carry the meat. He tried to pass it off as chicken, although he had no proof,” said a senior officer from Kalamboli police station.
According to sources, the driver, whose name has not been revealed, was arrested and the container seized on January 18 night. “The driver confessed that he was supposed to dump the consignment at a cold storage in Mumbai from where the beef would have been exported out of the country. He was arrested before he could reach the cold storage,” said a sub-inspector investigating the case.
Tests confirmed that the meat was beef and a bail application of the driver was rejected by the sessions court on January 25, the police said. “However, our biggest challenge is how to dispose off or store the beef. We kept it in the container and kept the vehicle running for a couple of days. After that we approached both the Panvel Municipal Corporation and the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation. Both refused disposal citing lack of space and technology. The beef is currently kept in a private cold storage,” said the investigating officer.
“The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation has given a green signal for dumping the beef in Turbhe. But it is yet to be done,” he added.
An officer privy to investigation said: “This is a huge quantity of beef and since it is a banned substance, we need to find out where it originated from. Several people will be arrested in the coming days, as it is clearly not the job of a single person.”
An FIR has been registered against the driver of the vehicle and unknown persons under sections 5, 5C (no person shall carry the flesh of bull, cow or bullocks), 9 (punishment for carrying meat of cow) and 11(enforcement of section 9) of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act (1995) and section 429 (mischief by killing or maiming cattle) of the Indian Penal Code.