In another setback for NCP Leader Ganesh Naik, his driver Irfan Patel has been arrested for selling beef. This is the second arrest since the beef ban law came into effect. Prior to this a Worli meat seller was arrested. In Navi Mumbai this is the first arrest for beef ban law violation. Three persons were arrested after the police raided a under construction building in Koperkhairane and seized over 350 kg of beef and body parts of a bullock.
Irfan Patel had an expired goat meet license on him when he was arrested. The police acted on a tip from NGO People For Animals. The others arrested are Patel’s brother Rizwan and a worker, Mohammed Ibrahim Shaikh, under various sections of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995, for possession and trading. Irfan Patel now faces a five year term as the newly-amended act makes the offence non-bailable.
The arrest of Irfan Patel comes as an embarrassing set back for the Naiks who are already facing a lot of allegations and flak by both the opposition and activists. NCP leader Ganesh Naik has said that Irfan Patel did work for him as his driver since 2006 but six months ago he had quit the job.Ganesh Naik called for a press conference to speak with the media along with his son and former MP Sanjeev Naik. Speaking to reporters he said “The reports that Irfan Patel is my driver is totally false and baseless. Irfan was my driver since 2006 but quit the job 6 months ago.” “I had no idea that he traded in meat,” Ganesh Naik added.It may be noted that Irfan Patel is a very well known person in Khairane Bonkode; a minority dominated area and birthplace of Ganesh Naik.
His closeness to the Naiks is known to all. In the just concluded NMMC Elections in April, Irfan Patel had claimed candidature from Khairane as the NCP candidate but the candidature was given to Sandeep Naik confidante Munawer Patel instead. Irfan Patel was presented in CBD Sessions Court and has been remanded to police custody.