Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Allahabad HC rejects anticipatory bail to man who ran illegal meat factory in Meerut

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The Allahabad High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail application of Mohammad Firoz of Meerut, accused of running an illegal meat factory.

The anticipatory bail application under Section 438 Cr.P.C has been filed by the applicant Mohd Firoz, seeking anticipatory bail, in the event of arrest in Case under Sections 420, 269, 270, 272, 273, 120B I.P.C, Police Station- Kharkhauda, District Meerut during the trial before the court below.

The First Information Report of the case was lodged on 1.4.2022 against the applicant and 13 other co-accused persons.

The informant of the case is Inspector Dinesh Kumar Upadhyay, Police Station Kharkhauda, District Meerut. The F.I.R has been lodged on the basis of a recovery which is alleged to have taken place on 31.3.2022 in the premises of a factory known as M/S Al Faheem Meetex Private Ltd situated at Alipur, Jijmana Hapur Road, Meerut.

The allegations in the F.I.R are that raid was conducted on 31.3.2022 jointly with the officers of Department of Veterinary, Food Safety, U.P Pollution Control Board, Meerut Vikas Pradhikaran, Meerut wherein after entering into premises 10 persons namely :- (1) Jameel, (2) Gajendra Singh Tomar, (3) Firoz, (4) Raheesh, (5) Sakib, (6) Sultan Salauddin, (7) Shahnawaz Ahmad Khan, (8) Manjoor Alam, (9) Mufid Husain and (10) Iliyas were found who were asked about the activities of the company who disclosed that they are labours in the company and the factory belongs to Mohd Imran Kuraishi, Firoz (the present applicant) and Shamzida Begum who are involved in the running of the factory and further Yaqoob Kuraishi, Imran and the father of Firoz also visited the factory and helped in the business.

They further informed that in the night raw meat is brought which is processed and packed and is kept in a deep freezer before supply. At times the meat is kept in a solution of formalin for preserving it.

Some raw meat has been brought in the night which has been cut into pieces and is kept in the plant which can be shown. On the said information the team went inside and on further inquiry, was informed that in the year 2019 there was restriction in the working in the factory.

There is no license for the factory since 2019. The said persons who were taken into custody, were asked to produce the documents of the factory but they could not give satisfactory answer and neither any contact was done with the owners of the factory. The team then recovered 6720 kg of raw meat and about 1250 kg bones which was told by the Weights and Measures Department.

From the plant during inspection around 2,40,438.8 kg processed meat packets were recovered. The samples of the same were taken by the department of Food Safety and by the police which was sealed. There was a foul smell coming and filth had gathered all around. The meat was also smelling foul which prima facie was not appearing fit for human consumption. It was kept in an unhealthy atmosphere. Two liter formalin solution was recovered. The F.I.R is thus lodged.

Counsel for the applicant argued that the applicant is the director of the company in question along with his brother Imran and mother Shamzida Begum which was duly constituted and registered under the provisions of the Company Act, 1956 and the registration done in the year 1996. Shazida Begum submitted her resignation on 1.4.2019 as a director which was accepted and she is no longer a director of the company.

It is further argued that the applicant is a respectable person of the society. The father of the applicant was elected as Deputy Mayor of Meerut City with effect from 1995 up to 1999. He was also elected as a Member of U.P Legislative Assembly in the year 2002 from Kharkhauda Constituency, Meerut, and was elected as MLA from Meerut City from B.S.P Party. The applicant has a good reputation and popularity in the area.

Counsel for the applicant further argued that there was a dispute with regards to sanctioning of map of the premises which was submitted before the Meerut Development Authority and was rejected order 23.5.2017 after which a writ petition was filed before the Court which disposed of the order dated 16.6.2017.

Counsel for the applicant said that subsequently Divisional Commissioner, Meerut passed an order on 25.10.2017 in pursuance of order passed in the writ petition whereby apart from other directions and decisions it was ordered that the proceedings of demolition be stayed.

Counsel for the applicant further said that in pursuance of the order dated 25.10.2017, board meeting of Meerut Development Authority was convened in which resolution was passed in consonance of the order of Commissioner, Meerut Division.

It is further argued that orders of sealing the factory premises were passed on 6.2.2019 and 12.2.2019 which were challenged in a writ petition before this Court in which an order dated 29.5.2019 was passed giving certain directions particularly permitting the petitioner therein to file a fresh application within a period of two weeks from the date he removes the constructions over green belt area and road widening area for conversion of land, use of public utility area and the said application was directed to be decided as per the directions given in the said order.

It is argued that subsequently an order dated 20.11.2019 was passed by Meerut Development Authority in compliance of the order dated 25.9.2019 passed in the said writ petition by which the premises of the applicant were de-sealed and it was ordered that there is no need for taking any permission from the Development Authority for removal of meat which is perishable item.

Counsel for the applicant has thus argued that on the strength of the order dated 20.11.2019 the factory was being operated and perishable meat kept therein was being taken care of and the same was being transported as it had an expiry up to the year 2023. The said meat was kept in the deep freezer of the factory. It is argued that the entire alleged recovery is a malafide act and a political game of the ruling party by compelling the administration to take stern action due to political reasons. It is argued that the applicant was earlier involved in two cases in which he has been acquitted.

Per contra, State counsel vehemently opposed the prayer for anticipatory bail. It is argued that the High Court in its order dated 29.5.2019 has specifically turned down the prayer of the petitioner therein to run the factory, on the ground that there was no sanctioned map of the factory and the construction over the land is not as per law.

State counsel said that mere stating in the letter dated 20.11.2019 by Meerut Development Authority that no permission is needed from them for lifting the perishable meat, has no relevance as the said authority was not competent authority for granting license to operate the meat factory and also for granting permission for sale of the said item.

State counsel further said that the meat factory was being run in an illegal campus without the required permission and licenses. It is argued that huge quantities of meat and bones have been recovered which cannot be said to be planted and cannot be said to have been falsely shown to be recovered. It is argued that the first information report names the applicant and the offences are made out against him.

State counsel stated that the case is of running a meat factory, cutting of meat and packaging it for sale without the required licenses and permissions. It is argued that even the premises used are not having the required permit for construction of the said factory and hence, it is prayed that the present anticipatory bail under Section 438 Cr.P.C be rejected.

“After having heard the counsels for the parties and perusing the records, it is evident that the dispute with regards to building is going on. The same has not yet been regularized. There has been recovery of huge quantities of meat both raw and in packaged form and huge quantities of bones from the factory premises. The applicant could not demonstrate any such permission or license for the said business. The argument that no objection of the Development Authority permits the operation of the factory is not at all impressive.

Looking to facts and circumstances of the case, nature of accusation and gravity of offence and more particularly the fact that there has been recovery of huge quantity of raw and packaged meat and bones from the factory premises, I do not find it a fit case to release the applicant on anticipatory bail”, the Court observed while rejecting the anticipatory bail Application.

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