The police from Dharavi seized around 1010 litres of adulterated milk. Six people were arrested for allegedly buying milk packets from various companies like Gokul, Amul, and others, adding water to them, then sealing them with a candle flame, and then sealed back. When they examined the packets during the raid, they concluded that the milk had been adulterated by the addition of water.
According to police, they received a tip-off that a milk adulteration racket was underway in Dharavi, acting on which police laid traps and activated their network of informers. Police learned that the offence was committed here frequently over the past few years.
Mumbai police conducted a raid at 5.30 am, wherein the accused were nabbed while they were engaged in packaging the adulterated milk. Police also seized several packets of milk of some reputed brands, along with wax candles, test tubes, lighter, stove pin, and blade. They also seized litres of adulterated milk, which led to the arrest of the accused.
Explaining the modus operandi, police said the accused bought original pouches of milk and mixed tap water into it, which was dirty and non-potable. The mixture would be then packed into fresh packets, with original tags and prints of reputed brands, and then distributed. The adulterated milk packets would contain 40 per cent water, which is unhealthy. Police are now trying to ascertain how the accused procured counterfeit milk pouches and an investigation is underway.
The accused are booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for adulteration of food and drink for sale (section 272), using a false property mark (section 482), counterfeiting property mark used by others (section 483), cheating (section 420), forgery (section 468) and common intention (section 34) along with the Food and Safety Standards Act. They were produced before a local magistrate court and remanded in police custody.
Investigating police officer said, “There are provisions for punishment in the existing laws related to food safety for many offences such as preparation of food items in an unhygienic atmosphere; carrying adulterated food; if a person dies due to consumption of adulterated food or suffers physical ailment or distress, etc. The punishments are in different forms viz. penal charges, imprisonment, etc. The administration does pay attention to maintaining the quality of food items, but citizens should also be alert while buying food items.”
Sunil Pakhare, a scientist of ‘Zilha Sarvajanik Arogya Prayogshala’ (District Public Health Laboratory), Satara and Kolhapur said, “Police raids such adulteration businesses when they get a tip of it, otherwise, the business continues. People need to be very prompt in checking the food packaging and other details to find out the authenticity of the product.”
The adulterated milk samples have been sent to the food and drug administration for further testing.