A day after Coast Guard officials apprehended five men from the suspicious ship 20 nautical miles off the city’s coast and handed them over to the local police station, the Yellow Gate police officials have decided to conduct an X-ray of the odd cargo of 26 goats that were found aboard the vessel.
The police have written to the civic body to take custody of the goats so that the animal department can examine the livestock for any infections. “Generally, any animal or plant that is brought into Mumbai from outside is kept with the BMC for eight days to check whether is has been infected. After that, we will conduct an X-ray of the animals to find out if they have been fixed with any type of microchips or are being used to transport drugs. The reason for doubt is because a large quantity of goats were found aboard the vessel,” said Tanaji Ghadge, Deputy Commisioner of Police, Port zone.
The vessel ‘MSV Yusufi’ which was coming from Dubai had a satellite phone on board, and its signal intercepted by the Coast Guard on Thursday following inputs from intelligence agencies that conversations were taking place via the banned satellite phone to a caller in Dubai. When the authorities approached the vessel, they saw the crew throwing the satellite phone and a goat into the water. Roused by the strange conduct, the authorities arrested the men and confiscated the livestock, cigarette cartons, mobile accessories, and foreign liquor that was on the ship.
The police are in the process of tracing a man named Usman for whom some goods were being brought to the city in the vessel. “We have not been able to trace Usman yet,” said Ghadge. Meanwhile, the police presented the five residentsof Gujarat Ahmed Aadam Paleja (45), Iqbal Hasan Umi (41), Yakub Abubakar Thakra (43), Abdul Razzak Usmar Mandwani (32) and Yunus Aasam Bolim (30) in court where they were remanded in police custody for five days. “The five men claim that the goods were being delivered to Sri Lanka. We are also probing them about the satellite phone and Usman,” said a police officer, on condition of anonymity.