After Malegaon, Bhiwandi and Mumbai police, the Navi Mumbai police became the fourth in the state to register a case of illegal slaughter of cow following the ban on possession and sale of beef in Maharashtra.
On Friday, the Koparkhairane police arrested three people after officers raided an under-construction site and recovered more than 350 kilograms of meat alleged to be beef. The police even found the severed cattle heads and horns at the spot.
The police have identified the accused as Irfan Patel, who claims to work for NCP leader and former state minister Ganesh Naik as a driver. Patel’s brother Rizwan and a worker, Mohammed Ibrahim Shaikh, are the other two accused in the case. They were picked up later on Friday evening.
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The trio has been charged under Sections 6 and 9 (a) of the Maharashtra Animal Protection Act (MAPA) 1995. Under the provisions of this Act, a person found guilty faces one-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000. In addition to MAPA, the accused have also been charged under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.
According to Ashok Naik, senior police inspector of the Koparkhairane police, the requisite permit under Patel’s name expired a few months ago.
Police said the trio had been slaughtering cattle for the past six years. “So far, we have not been able to establish any link between the accused and the former state minister,” he added.
Officers said they received a tip-off from NGO People For Animals (PFA).
“A majority of the meat was disposed by municipal authorities on Friday afternoon. We have sent small samples of various meat, amounting to 500 grams, for inspection to determine if the meat came from bulls or bullocks,” Naik said.
The three were remanded in police custody till May 18.