The agency is carrying out searches at 13 locations.
The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked a Border Security Force (BSF) Commandant and three traders for their alleged role in smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh via West Bengal. The role of Customs officials is also being probed.
The agency has conducted searches on the premises of the accused at 13 locations in West Bengal’s Kolkata and Murshidabad, Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, Amritsar in Punjab and Chhattisgarh’s Raipur.
The accused have been identified as Satish Kumar, the then Commandant of 36 BSF Battalion who is currently posted in Raipur; Inamul Haq, Anarul Sheikh and Mohammed Golam Mustafa.
The case is based on the findings during a preliminary inquiry into a complaint about smuggling of cattle from India to Bangladesh.
According to the CBI, the inquiry revealed that cattle was being smuggled in large numbers by paying bribes to the Border Security Force personnel responsible for preventing cross-border movement of men and property.
From December 19, 2015, to April 22, 2017, Satish Kumar was posted as a Commandant in the 36 Battalion of BSF in Malda district, whose four companies were deployed in Murshidabad and two companies in Malda along the international border.
It is alleged that during his tenure, over 20,000 cows were seized by the force, but the persons involved in the smuggling were not apprehended, nor their vehicles were seized.
The FIR states that owing to a close nexus between the BSF personnel, Customs officials and traders like Enamul Haque, Anarul Sheikh and Golam Mustafa, seizure lists of the cattle were prepared arbitrarily, categorising the breed and size of animals with an intention to reduce their price during auctions, yielding less revenue.
These cattle would be auctioned within 24 hours of the seizure with the help of the nearest Customs station in Murshidabad.
In lieu of the favour, as alleged, Enamul Haque used to pay ₹2,000 per cattle to BSF officials and ₹500 to the Customs officials concerned. Besides, the Customs officials would take 10% of the auction price in bribe from successful bidders, who also paid ₹50 per cattle to the BSF officials, alleges the FIR.
The accused Commandant had got his son, Bhuvan Bhaskar, employed in the Haque Industries Private Limited, and he received a salary of over ₹30,000 per month from May 2017 to December 2017.
Through the auctions, the traders were allowed to buy the cattle at much cheaper rates. After showing the auctioned cattle to have been disposed of in the local market, they would be smuggled to Bangladesh.