Coconut fibre, not drugs, found inside 31 goats aboard vessel

Jun 25, 2013, 06:28 IST | Bhupen Patel

Forensic report says the husk may have found its way to the animals' intestines as it is used to tie bundles of hay; the cattle were found aboard MSV Yusufi, which was intercepted off the Mumbai coast

The mystery of the unidentified objects inside the intestines of 31 goats aboard the MSV Yusufi, which was intercepted off the Mumbai coast recently has finally been solved. After two-and-a-half-months, officials from the Customs, Coastguards, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the local police have finally determined that the items, which they suspected were drugs, is nothing but some rope made out of coconut fibre.

Confirming the reports from forensic experts, Assistant Commissioner of Police Tanaji Gadge said, “The reports have come in some time ago. The substance is nothing but a pile of coconut fibre, made up of coconut palms.” On April 3, the Indian Coast Guard intercepted the MSV Yusufi vessel off the Mumbai coast and found it to be smuggling goods worth Rs 6-8 crore from Dubai into the city.

Then, officials had found five people on board, with 436 crates of imported cigarettes, mobile accessories, TV sets and mysteriously 31 goats. The officials suspected them to be carrying suspicious items in their intestine following which doctors at Parel’s Bombay Veterinary Hospital operated upon them in the second week of April.

The report added that the fibre may have found its way into the goats’ stomachs, as the material is normally used to tie fodder. Gadge further added, “Though the narcotics angle had fallen through, there were certain other commodities such as imported cigarettes and electronics recovered from the vessel and hence, the property (including the goats) will be handed over to the Customs department where they will be prosecuted under the smuggling Act.”

According to the Yellow Gate police, ever since the vessel’s been confiscated, a slew of officials belonging to national and international agencies have been appearing at the station investigating the case. Officials from NCB visited the station to investigate this unusual form of trafficking using goats.

“There were several unanswered questions regarding the route and consignments it was carrying. Our bureau was certainly interested in knowing the route and the modus operandi used to smuggle the contraband, which was earlier suspected to be drugs,” said a Narcotics Control Bureau officer on the condition of anonymity. 

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