While the Maharashtra government has banned the sale or possession of beef, there is only one expert in the microbiology department of the Bombay Veterinary College, who can conduct tests to verify if the seized meat is of cow, bull, bullocks or buffalo.
This, in effect, means the process to book a person under section 5 of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, which attracts a maximum punishment of five years, will be a long-drawn one.
The issue came to light after the Worli police arrested a butcher, Mohammed Akram Qureshi, on Tuesday for alleged possession of beef, and sent the samples of the meat seized
from him to the microbiology department of the college. Qureshi was later released on bail.
Dr Suresh Jagdale, a senior research assistant, who has been tasked with conducting the test, said, “Ours is the only department in the state that performs these [beef verification] tests. We get samples from various parts of India for the test. I am the only designated expert to
perform this test,” said Jagdale, adding he will have train his juniors.
Jagdale said it takes three days to complete the tests, as it involves certain scientific processes which take up to eight hours a day.
“The tests are important to identify whether Qureshi was selling beef, which is banned in the state. It will also significantly change the sections we will apply to the case,” said Vinay Kulkarni, senior inspector at Worli police station.