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Indian CBI accuses BSF officer, 3 others in connection with cattle smuggling

Published : Wednesday, 23 September, 2020 at 10:11 PM  Count : 208

A probe conducted by the CBI into cattle smuggling at the Indo-Bangladesh border has revealed that personnel of the BSF and Customs Department may also be involved. Photo: PTI

A probe conducted by the CBI into cattle smuggling at the Indo-Bangladesh border has revealed that personnel of the BSF and Customs Department may also be involved. Photo: PTI

An investigation conducted by India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged cattle smuggling at India-Bangladesh border has revealed that the Border Security Force (BSF) and Customs Department takes play an active role in the illegal trade for which huge bribes are paid.

The agency on Wednesday conducted raids at 15 places in several cities including Delhi, Kolkata, Siliguri, Murshidabad, Ghaziabad, Amritsar and Raipur after filing a case against a BSF Commandant - Satish Kumar and three traders – Mohammad Enamul Haque, Anarul SK and Mohammad Golam Mostafa.

Interestingly, Enamul Haque was also involved in bribing another BSF Commandant Jibu D Mathew, who was arrested by CBI in January 2018. It was alleged that Enamul had paid Rs 50 lakh to Mathew for letting the illegal cattle smuggling trade run smoothly at the border. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also raided Enamul’s premises’ in January this year.

Based on the 2018 probe, CBI had launched a preliminary enquiry to investigate a larger conspiracy as well as role played by Kumar. The agency decided to register an FIR on Monday, which not only indicts Kumar but the border guarding force at large.

The FIR states – “The enquiry revealed that cattle from India to Bangladesh across the International Border of these two countries are sent in large numbers not through ports of trade but illegally by paying bribes to the BSF personnel responsible to prevent cross border movement of men and property, safeguarding interests of India”.

Citing alleged bribe paid to Satish Kumar, CBI FIR says when the Commandant was posted in 36th battalion of BSF at Malda, West Bengal between December 2015 and April 2017, more than 20,000 cows were seized by the BSF before they could be transported across the border to Bangladesh. However, BSF didn’t seize any vehicle carrying these animals or arrest the smugglers.

“Further, due to close nexus between the BSF and Custom officials with traders like Enamul Haque, Anarul and Golam Mostafa, the seizure list of such seized cattle was prepared arbitrarily categorizing the breed and size of animals with an intention to reduce the upset price of the cattle during auctions,” said CBI FIR.

Describing the role played by BSF and Customs after the seizure, CBI FIR says that these cattle were auctioned immediately (within 24 hours of seizure) with the help of nearest Customs station i.e. Jangipur, Murshidabad.

“Since the cattle were shown mostly small in size/common breed in the seizure memo of BSF, the auction value of such cattle were reduced which were then procured at a considerable lower price by the above named traders due to their unholy nexus with the officials of Customs department”.

The agency further alleged that Enamul Haque used to pay Rs 2,000 per cattle to BSF officials and Rs 500 to concerned Customs officials. “Besides, Customs’ officials used to take 10% of the auction price as bribe from successful bidders like Enamul Haque, Golam Mostafa and Anarul SK etc,” CBI FIR adds.

Subsequently, BSF was to be paid Rs 50 per seized cattle for feeding it by the successful bidders.

After showing the auctioned cattle to have been disposed of at local market, the same were illegally smuggled across the international border.

Commandant Satish Kumar, according to CBI, got his son Bhuvan Bhaskar employed in the company of Enamul Haque at a salary of Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per month.

When contacted, BSF refused to comment. A query sent to Customs remained unanswered.

Hindustan Times/MUS

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