The West Bengal police today arrested one more person involved in supply of rotten meat in the city and neighbouring areas after processing the flesh of carcasses collected from dumping grounds, a senior police officer said. Shiekh Sikander, the alleged linkman, was arrested from his hideout in Madhyamgram area of North 24 Parganas district by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to probe the racket.
The police had earlier arrested kingpin Biswanath Garai (52), a resident of Sonarpur in South 24 Parganas, from near Garia railway station. So far 12 people have been arrested, including a leader of a political outfit, in connection with the case. Sikander used to collect meat from carcasses left in dumping grounds in Madhyamgram and areas around the Netaji Subhas Chandra International Airport, the officer said, adding that he was sent to six days of police custody by a local court here.
“This person used to collect meat of the dead animals from dumping grounds and supplied them to the prime accused, Biswanath Garai, for his Narkeldanga storage and to Sarafat Hossain in Kakinara (in North 24 Parganas district). We are questioning him to find out who else is involved in this racket,” the officer said. The police also conducted raids at different places in the city and tried to net agents through whom Sikander used to run his business.
The state government has directed all police stations in the metropolis and the districts to keep a watch on the sale of meat in their areas, officials said. The municipal authorities today conducted raids in some hotels and restaurants at Sheoraphuli and Baidyabati in Hooghly district and collected samples of meat served by them, they said.
The municipal authorities raided the hotels and restaurants after receiving complaints of stale biryani and rotten meat served by them, the officials said, adding that the food samples were later sent for tests. Earlier, the civic authorities had conducted raids at hotels and restaurants in Arambagh, Tarakeswar, Serampore and Dankuni in Hooghly district, they added.
Last week, the government had seized 20 tonnes of rotten meat, suspected of dead animals and sourced from dumping grounds, meant to be supplied to eateries and departmental stores in the state as well as neighbouring Jharkhand, Odisha and Bihar. The state consumer affairs department is also preparing a detailed report on the matter.