KOLKATA: The sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday raided at 15 places in Kolkata and the districts bordering Bangladesh in connection with a cattle smuggling case in which a BSF commandant has been held accused.
The central agency claimed to have come across leads showing the involvement of a section of customs officers posted in the districts.
One of the 12 CBI teams, which carried out the raids, searched and sealed the Salt Lake residence of Satish Kumar, the BSF commandant presently posted in Jharkhand.
CBI sources said the agency came to know about the allegations against Kumar in 2018 following which it conducted an inquiry. "The finding corroborated the allegation and we registered a case against Kumar and three cattle traders on last September 21," said a BSF official.
From December 19, 2015, to April 22, 2017, Kumar was posted as commandant of 36 Battalion in Malda district which was having four companies of BSF personnel deployed in Murshidabad and two companies in Malda.
"It is alleged that during Kumar’s tenure, more than 20,000 cows were seized by the BSF before they could be smuggled to Bangladesh. No one was caught by the BSF and surprisingly, no vehicle in which the cows were being transported was seized," said the CBI official.
The seizure lists were prepared arbitrarily categorizing the breed and size of the seized cows with an intention to reduce the upset price during auctions, the CBI investigation revealed.
"Within 24 hours of the seizure, the cows were auctioned with the help of the nearest customs office. Only the three accused traders -- Mohammad Enamul, Mohammad Anarul, and Golam Mustafa -- were allowed to buy the cattle at very lower prices during the auction. After showing the papers that the auctioned cattle to have been disposed of at local markets, the same were illegally smuggled to Bangladesh," said another CBI officer.
The investigating officers came to know that Enamul used to pay Rs 2,000 per cattle to BSF officials and Rs 500 to the customs officials concerned. "Besides, the customs officials used to take a bribe of 10 per cent of the auction price from bidders like Enamul and others," he said.