A Pune-based organisation and four labour unions have moved the Bombay high court seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into an alleged racket of manufacturing and distributing carcinogenic “artificial milk” in Mumbai and parts of Western Maharashtra.
The organisation, Arogya Sena, and the labour unions have stated in their public interest litigation (PIL) that investigation by the police and the food and drugs administration revealed that 22 big dairies from Western Maharashtra indulged in manufacturing and distributing synthetic milk, but neither their names have been revealed nor has any action been taken.
“There is reluctance on the part of the respondents [the state authorities] to prosecute the dairies due to money power and patronage by political bigwigs,” said the PIL filed through lawyer Jane Cox. It seeks a thorough CBI probe saying: “The inaction is emboldening the racketeers.”
The petition says a professor in a college in Phaltan tehsil of Satara district, had accidentally found the formula for manufacturing synthetic milk, and decided to make it and distribute it in parts of Western Maharashtra, Ahmednagar and Mumbai for a long time.
When the professor washed his hands after conducting some experiments in his lab, he noticed the water draining off his hands had turned into a milky liquid, the PIL states. It adds that he then conducted further experiments and found it had properties similar to those of milk.
The petition alleges that the professor set up an operation to mix the chemically concocted substance with real milk to earn easy and quick money.
The petition states that the chemical content of the artificially manufactured milk were extremely harmful and had serious effects on vital organs such as the brain, liver and heart. Besides, some of the ingredients are carcinogenic and also cause skin rashes, it adds.
The PIL is likely to come up for hearing on February 10.