NEW DELHI: Less than a month before Trinamool Congress (TMC) strongman Anubrata Mondal was arrested by the CBI on August 11, a BSF staff court of inquiry (SCOI) against a commandant recommended investigations into the “suspected involvement of senior ranking officers” in cattle smuggling on the India-Bangladesh in South Bengal between 2015 and 17, according to official documents.
As an influential leader from Birbhum in West Bengal, Mondal was said to have been in league with several senior BSF officers who were suspected to have been involved in cattle smuggling during their posting at the BSF’s headquarters in Delhi, Kolkata and field stations under the paramilitary force’s Eastern Command.
The SCOI’s recommendations emerge from its proceedings against Satish Kumar, who was commandant of the BSF’s 20th and 36th battalions between 2015 and 2017. The CBI’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) registered a case against Kumar on September 21, 2020, before arresting him on November 17 the same year. He was arrested for “his alleged involvement/direct nexus with cattle smuggler Mohammad Enamul Haque”.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also arrested Kumar on April 23, 2022. He has been at Tihar Jail since May 3, 2022. He was charged for “possession of disproportionate assets as well as misuse of official powers”. According to the SCOI document, it was “prima facie revealed that Shri Satish Kumar, Commandant, amassed huge assets in the form of immovable properties” between April 2011 and November 2020.
The SCOI document says that “rampant cattle smuggling activities” took place in the jurisdictional areas of the BSF’s 20th and 36th battalions but remained “unnoticed by DIG Malda and Deputy Commandant (G) Malda”. This, the document says, “could not have taken place without tacit involvement of senior officers of the BSF in the chain of command and without support of field/ground BSF officials i.e. Coy Comdrs/Post Comdrs and the G and Vigilance staff concerned”.
More recently, Kumar is said to have revealed to the CBI the names of several senior officers who were allegedly involved in cattle smuggling. The list of senior officers alleged to have been involved in and abetting cattle smuggling is said to be “about 25”, including IPS officers on deputation to the BSF.
While recommending initiation of “disciplinary action” in accordance with the 1968 BSF Act, the SCOI advised that a “senior officer of the rank of DIG may kindly be detailed to investigate the suspected involvement of…senior BSF officers in the above cattle smuggling case as IO (investigating officer), ACB, CBI, Kolkata, has submitted in his report that other BSF officials are also suspected to be involved in cattle smuggling activities during the period from 2015 to 2017”.
TMC strongman said to be hand-in-gloves with BSF
An influential TMC leader from Birbhum in West Bengal, Mondal was said to have been in league with several senior BSF officers who were suspected to have been deeply involved in cattle smuggling during their posting at the BSF’s headquarters in Delhi, Kolkata and field stations under the paramilitary force’s Eastern Command