Two held in Bengal for selling skin and meat of dead animals dumped in Kolkata outskirts
Police conducted raids at several street markets at Sealdah and Rajabajar in central Kolkata. However till Saturday no evidence to prove that meat from dead animals was being supplied to hotels and restaurants was found.kolkata Updated: Apr 21, 2018 21:19 IST
Two men were arrested by the South 24 Parganas district police on Friday on charges of carrying meat retrieved from carcasses of dead animals left to decompose in a dumping ground in Budge Budge. They allegedly used to make money by selling the skin and meat of dead animals.
On Thursday, some residents of Subhas Udyan area in Budge Budge (about 28 km from Kolkata) caught Raja Mullick, a casual worker of the local municipality and Vincent Simon, a taxi driver, while some meat and animal parts were being smuggled out in the taxi.
Local people alleged that meat retrieved from dead animals was being regularly supplied to hotels and restaurants in Kolkata. This immediately triggered panic and rumours, prompting the police to initiate probe. Carcasses of all kinds of animals, including cow, pig and dog, are dumped in the ground.
Police interrogated Mullick, Simon and three others. Acting on their statements, police conducted raids at several street markets in the Sealdah and Rajabajar areas of central Kolkata. However till Saturday no evidence to prove that meat from dead animals was being supplied to hotels and restaurants was found. Also, nobody was reported to have fallen sick.
“The investigation has so far revealed that some people used to steal carcasses principally for the skin. If any of these carcasses were fresh they used to sell the meat in some street markets. So far we have found no evidence to suggest that any of this meat was supplied to hotels and restaurants,” Tapas Sinha, officer-in-charge, Budge Budge police station, said.
Police have however found that fishery owners regularly buy meat from these markets to feed catfish.
The police are now trying to find out if any of these shopkeepers ever mixed any meat retrieved from the carcasses in Budge Budge with fresh meat supplied from slaughter houses.
On Friday and Saturday, Kolkata Municipal Corporation employees collected samples of mutton and chicken items as well as samples of raw meat from a few eateries in Sealdah market. These will be tested at KMC laboratories.
Though there was no specific information or complaint, the Kolkata civic body started acting on its own after Friday’s arrests. This was done because last month the city woke up to rumours that chicken meat soaked in chemicals used for preserving dead bodies were being sold in the markets. However, repeated raids yielded no proof.
“The discovery in Budge Budge was an accident. One of the wheels of the taxi fell in a deep pothole and the driver asked some locals to help. When the vehicle didn’t nudge after much pushing, the locals decided to empty the luggage compartment where the meat was kept,” said Gautam Dasgupta, vice chairman of Budge Budge municipality.
Mullick, the casual worker of the civic body, used to get Rs 100 for every tipoff. He used to keep an eye on the dumping ground. His job was to pass on the information every time a carcass was dumped.