This is the first time since the beef ban was imposed that police have seized such a huge quantity of dried meat. Interestingly, police claim the accused illegally exported 'beef' to Vietnam for dog food, wrongly declaring it as buffalo meat. Police are also probing whether the exporter followed proper procedure while clearing customs.
Police have arrested three persons, owner Shamshad Qureshi (28) and his employees Ashraf Ali Miya (60) and Mohammed Qureshi (27). They have been booked under IPC sections 429 (causing mischief by killing or maiming cattle) and under Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act 1976.
Acting on a tip-off, crime branch unit-3 led by inspector Sunil Mane raided four godowns at Ibrahim Chawl at Kuttiwadi in Dharavi and found a huge quantity of dried meat. "We found workers in the godown were processing the meat by pouring turmeric and salt and boiling it. The accused claimed it was buffalo meat but when asked to prove it they couldn't," said Mane.
Mane informed joint commissioner of police (crime) Atul Chandra Kulkarni, who advised police team to take assistance from Deonar abattoir officials. Abattoir official Dr Sanjeev Pinjarkar and BMC inspectors (market) Dashrat Chavan and Anand Shinde who reached the spot and inspected the meat, concluded it prima facie appeared to be beef. Police have sent samples of the seized meat to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for examination.
Firoz Qureshi, a close relative of Shamshad, denied all the allegations saying the business was legal. "It is not beef at all. It's the remains of buffalo meat which actually goes waste, we collect and process it before exporting it," said Firoz.
The accused claimed they would process buffalo meat, dry and pack it in airtight polythene bags and export the same. But police claim illegal butchers from various parts of the country particularly Kanpur, Jharkhand, Bihar and Gujarat, used to send beef to the accused. Police said the accused transported the beef only during the wee hours when there are few checks. "The accused exported the dried beef to Vietnam where it is used to make dog food and to the Philippines where it is used to make a famous soup," said a source.