Khyber held guilty of selling ‘substandard, unsafe milk’

SRINAGAR: The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Budgam, on Monday held reputed ‘Khyber Agro Farms Pvt Ltd’ guilty of selling “substandard and unsafe milk.”

The Court imposed a fine of Rs 9 lakh on the company and also ordered six months imprisonment to the In-Charge Operations nominated by the company.

The court also declared Food Analyst, Kashmir, either ‘incapable or dishonest’ and has ordered for his immediate removal.

The court passed these directions in the case of State through Zeenat Ayoub, Food Safety Officer, area Budgam (complainant) v/s In-charge Operations nominated person for Khyber company, Muhammad Shafi Ganaie and Ghulam Ali Khan, a resident of Wahdatpora Budgam, proprietor of Yaseem Provision Store, main chowk, Budgam.

The complainant had filed a case in the court of law on 19 March, 2014, claiming that while on inspection tour to main market Budgam, he inspected a number of Food Business Establishments (FBE) including Yaseem Provisional Store. The complainant (Food Safety Officer) inspected various articles of food including toned milk of Khyber brand, of which the sample was obtained under section 38 and 47 of FSS, act 2006.

The complainant, after examining the food articles, physically served a notice in writing to the accused person on spot and collected the sample.

The sample of four sealed packets of toned Khyber milk were sent to the Food Analyst, Kashmir province, for laboratory analysis. Ironically, the Food Analyst sent a positive report absolving the proprietor and the Khyber.

However, the claims made by the Food Analyst turned out to be ambiguous and lie when the same samples were sent to Referral Laboratory in Kolkata that clearly indicated that the sample of the milk was “sub-standard, un-safe and misbranded.”

The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Budgam, Imtiaz Ahmed Lone, in his judgement said: “This is not first case where it has come to the surface that the milk product manufactured by the accused company contains detergent, urea and other dangerous chemicals not only in milk but other edible products and in this behalf prosecution has been launched against the accused company and others.”

“The accused company is facing similar cases before various courts, therefore, the presumption of innocence in favour of the accused company is ruled out. The apex court of the state has also taken cognizance suo moto against the product in question and the product is presently before the Honorable Supreme Court of the country, for the same offence,” the court maintained.

The Court said that in all cases, whether disposed of on account of time bar and under trial the Food Analyst Kashmir, Hamidullah Dar, has given clean chit in favour of the accused company and in favour of the other companies and the department has been every time constrained to refer the matter to the Referral Laboratory Kolkata, the style and manner displayed by Food Analyst Kashmir, while discharging  his duties in all important matters, can be judged in two situations.

Either Hamidullah Dar (Food Analyst Kashmir) was incapable to conduct the test and discharge his duties to the expectations of his assignment and job or he was dishonest to his job, the court maintained.

“In both the circumstances, the need of the time is to remove the person from the present assignment and initiate the process against him to declare him deadwood,” the court said. “Let displeasure of the court be conveyed and reflected in his service records as this court lacks trust in him and justice has been all time casualty at his hand.”

“Persons like Hamidullah Dar is more dangerous than a fatal disease like cancer for the entire nation and incapacity or compromise with the nature of job like Food Analyst Kashmir cannot be accepted by any standards of expectations where lives of the citizens are involved,” the court said.

“His style and manner of job is not [only] dangerous to the present nation but it is equally dangerous for those who are yet to be born and are being subjected to a treatment which they do not deserve,” the court observed. (CNS)