Police in Ahmednagar arrested 38 people as they unearthed a big milk adulteration racket. They started the operation three weeks ago when they raided two shops in Srirampur taluka and seized chemicals and powder used for adulteration.
During the probe, they raided several places in Rahuri, Rahata, Newase and Sangamner, and are now investigating whether the dairies owned by kin of politicians from Ahmednagar are also involved in the racket. According to the police, milk was mainly being adulterated at the collection level and it was later sent to dairies for distribution.
Some of the key accused, who have been booked by the police, are Rajendra Bankar, Babasaheb Chide and Anil Waikar while 10 others are still absconding. So far, the police have seized material worth Rs 50 lakh, which was being used to adulterate milk.
Most of the milk that reached Mumbai and Pune on a daily basis comes from western Maharashtra, which includes Ahmednagar district. Almost 80 per cent of Mumbai’s 40 lakh litres comes from western Maharashtra.
According to the Ahmednagar Superintendent of Police Krishna Prakash, the adulterated milk was being supplied to more than 24 milk dairies and milk federations, including some well-known ones like Dinshaws, Haldiram, Krishnai, Reliance and Srirampur. The police have sent notices to all 24 dairies.
“We are now investigating why big dairies could not detect that they were receiving adulterated milk from suppliers as these dairies have their own laboratories.
If anyone influential is involved in the racket, the police will not spare him,” Prakash told Hindustan Times. “All these dairies should have stopped the adulteration of milk once it came to their notice after tests.”
According to Prakash, the police are yet to completely eliminate the racket as the dairies have not replied to the notices.
The police have booked all the accused under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, who is also from Ahmednagar district, has demanded stringent action against the perpetrators of milk adulteration.
“Supplying chemical laced milk is an offence similar to killing a person. So, all the accused should be booked under attempt to murder charges,” said Hazare.