The West Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday held a protest march in the city after the revelations regarding an alledged rotten meat supply racket. Slamming the the ruling Trinamool Congress, the party said that state machinery is involved in the racket and demanded strict action against the accused involved in it.
The state police have so far seized more than 20 tonnes of rotten meat which were suspected to be of dead animals. This meat was meant for supply to restaurants and hotels across the city as well as in neighbouring Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha. Police officials have even claimed that the meat may have been supplied to international markets such as Nepal and Bangladesh as well.
So far, the state police have arrested 10 people, including a leader of a political outfit, in connection with the case. Several teams have been deployed in greater Kolkata and outside West Bengal to trace the culprits involved in the business of selling meat of dead animals.
The police suspect that as many as five influential individuals acted as middlemen in the racket. The police have also arrested the alleged mastermind of the racket, Sonny Malik, who was held in Bihar’s Nawada district on April 25. The major breakthrough came following the arrest of a former councillor from Kalyani. 62-year-old Manik Mukherjee had retired from the Multidisciplinary Training Centre in Gayeshpur two years ago.
Apart from Kolkata and state police, the state enforcement branch has also started a probe into the matter simultaneously. The state consumer affairs department is preparing a detailed report on the matter. Consumer Affairs Minister Sadhan Pandey had said. “We are chalking out a detailed report on this matter. Once it is complete, we will submit it to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee”. The West Bengal government has directed all police stations in the metropolis and the districts to keep a watch on the sale of meat in their areas.
The information related to the preservation of dead chicken using formalin for supply to famous restaurants and eateries had broken in March. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also publicly pulled up the state officials and held them responsible for failing to deal with the problem.
Following the expose, the sale of chicken, mutton, and pork in city has seen a significant dip. According to prominent restaurant owners, the customers are preferring fish, prawn over meat, according to a Times of India report. Hotel and Restaurants’ Association of Eastern India (HRAEI) has asked eateries’ owners to only purchase meat from registered suppliers.