RAIPUR: Senior BJP leader Harish Verma, arrested for the death of dozens of cattle in the cow-shelter he runs, has been accused of using the skin and bones of dead cows for preparing dietary micro-pellets for fish and other products for commercial purpose.
“We have received serious complaints that he used to illegally supply cows to butchers, utilise the skin and bone of dead cows for making diet for fish and preparing other by-products having commercial utility. Every such allegation will be investigated,” Chhattisgarh Rajya Gau Seva Ayog Chairman Bisesar Patel told The Sunday Standard. The vice-president of Jamul municipality in Durg district was arrested after an FIR was lodged by the Ayog.
After the incident came to light, Chief Minister Raman Singh has given stern instructions to carry out inspection of all cow-shelters in the state. The commission in its preliminary observation found the BJP leader at fault.
The cow-shelter owned by senior BJP leader Harish Verma at Rajpur village in Durg district of Chhattisgarh has a capacity of 220, but on the day of inspection, 559 cows were found.
“We have instructed to shift the remaining cows to other gau shalas. Frail, infirm and ailing old cows are being attended to,” Patel said, adding that the facility got `93.63 lakh via government grant.
Officially, 30 cows have died in the livestock shelter maintained by the BJP leader, but villagers claimed over 200 were dead and many were quietly buried or stacked away on tractor trolleys.
“Verma has been charged under various sections of Chhattisgarh Agriculture Cattle Preservation Act 2004, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Section 409 of Indian Penal Code over criminal breach of trust,” Durg district police chief Amresh Mishra said.
As per the preliminary findings by a four-member probe team constituted by the district administration, the death of cows apparently resulted due to starvation, improper care, illness and neglect.
“The administration is deliberately concealing the actual figures of dead cows. Why are the gau rakshaks silent now?” asked Ramesh Varlyani, chief Congress spokesperson.