KOCHI: A mini van carrying 16 pigs from Coimbatore and found plying without necessary documents needed during the lockdown was seized by police on Friday at Piravom in Ernakulam district during a security check.
The driver and his aide, both from Tamil Nadu, have been arrested and charged under relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020, which empowers the Kerala government to take special measures to deal with a pandemic.
Police said the van was seized by their personnel at Mulakkulam Valappil Padi, the border area of Ernakulam and Kottayam districts.
The duo told police that the pigs were meant to be taken to Peruva in Kottayam district and had been thoroughly examined by veterinarians in Coimbatore.
However, they did not have a certificate either from the veterinary department in Tamil Nadu or in Kerala for their onward journey after crossing the border, they said Their agent in Kerala refused to accept his role in bringing pigs from Tamil Nadu, police said.
Police said they are examining whether the pigs were smuggled into the state through an unauthorised route, avoiding the Walayar checkpost.
Piravom Municipal Chairman Sabu K Jacob and Vice Chairperson Annamma Domy who visited the spot alleged that there has been a serious breach of security at the borders and demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.
The health department authorities and officials from the animal husbandry department also visited the spot.
The driver and aide will be put under 28 days quarantine after their medical examinations, officials said.
Piravom Municipal authorities said the pigs would be handed over to the government-owned Meat Products of India Ltd, a major Indian meat processing, packaging and distribution company based in Edayar in Ernakulam district.