A driver of a garbage truck was arrested in Karnataka's Nanjangud in January this year for illegally dumping biomedical waste transported from Kerala.

Cops yet to nab Kerala garbage contractor who dumped biomedical waste in Karnataka
news Crime Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 18:59

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Sunday thanked his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan for taking action against miscreants who were dumping general and biomedical waste in the border districts of Karnataka.

“First I thank the Kerala Chief minister Pinnarayi Vijayan for his prompt reaction and response to initiate legal action against the dumpers of bio-medical and bio-waste in our districts neighbouring Kerala. We have taken serious note of reports in a section of press on alleged dumping of bio-medical waste and bio-waste by people from Kerala in bordering Mysuru, Kodagu and Chamarajnagar districts,” Yediyurappa said.

However, according to the Karnataka police, the contractors from Kerala responsible for the recent illegal waste dumping in Karnataka have not been arrested yet. In the early hours of January 29, the Nanjangud Rural Police had intercepted trucks that were carrying biomedical waste at the checkpoint in Mysuru’s Nanjangud.

The police had arrested a truck driver named Syed Mohammed and found that he was allegedly instructed by a garbage contractor in Kozhikode district of Kerala to transport the waste to Karnataka to a jaggery manufacturer. The truck stopped at the Adakanahalli Industrial Area and two men were allegedly trying to unload the bio-medical waste onto an empty plot of land when they were caught red-handed.

“We found that Muneer is the contractor who bagged a tender floated by the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation. He had informed the driver Syed that it was not illegal as the waste was being converted to fuel. We don’t know if this is true and whether there are people in Karnataka who are aiding them yet, since Muneer, the contractor, has absconded,” said sub-inspector Surendra, the investigating officer in the case told TNM.

Investigation in Kerala draws a blank

Investigation revealed that Muneer is a resident of Chelavoor in Kozhikode. However, he remains elusive and the police are yet to nab him. “When we went to Kerala to investigate the matter, we only knew that his name was Muneer. We went to Syed’s house and found that he too had absconded. We later found that Muneer lived just a kilometre away from Syed’s house near Pallithazham Road and went looking for him,” SI Surendra said.

However, the police are yet to find him as he was not at his residence and his mobile phone remains switched off. “If we find Muneer, we will be able to figure out whether he actually meant to sell the waste to jaggery manufactures. So far, it seems like just an excuse Muneer gave Syed as he did not even know which jaggery factory he was supposed to handover the garbage to,” he added.

Muneer’s modus operandi 

SI Surendra also said that Muneer would gather the biomedical waste from hospitals and pharmacies in Kerala under the pretext of owning a plant to dispose of it. “Based on our investigation, he gets the medical waste, mixes it with the garbage waste at a vacant plot near Vikram Maidan in Kozhikode and then loads the waste into canter vehicles that bring them to Karnataka. We need to interrogate Muneer to find which hospitals and pharmacies he duped or whether they knew about the illegal dumping,” he said.

Apart from Muneer and Syed, the Nanjangud Rural Police booked Afzal Muneer and Kabir, residents of Kerala’s Kozhikode, and their accomplice Shoaib. They have booked five men under section 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code. They have also been booked under the Motor Vehicles Act for illegal transportation of waste.