The Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) Kolkata unit will conduct a probe into cattle smuggling through West Bengal—Bangladesh border and register a suo moto case if the agency comes across clinching evidence to book suspects involved in the illegal trade.
The decision was taken by the central agency after receiving instructions from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)’s.
According to sources in the CBI, the MHA asked the agency to investigate the issue after the Border Security Force (BSF) submitted a report to it describing the prevailing situation. “The agency said after being challenged, the suspects, instead of fleeing, retaliated and attacked BSF personnel on several occasions. Four months ago, a BSF jawan’s border guard’s hand was blown up when he was hit with a crude bomb at Basirhat in North 24-Parganas district,” said a CBI officer.
The smugglers adopted a unique method of tying the animals to rudimentary rafts and used a flooded river that runs between the two countries across the border.“Tens of thousands of cattle are estimated to be smuggled in Bangladesh. We found the heads of the bovines were placed between two banana tree trunks and bound together before they were pushed in the water from where the current took them to Bangladesh. Improvised explosive devices were also found attached to the rope tied to the animals’ neck,” said a BSF official.
CBI sources said the BSF also mentioned in its report that a section of leaders of gram panchayat level is involved in the trade. “Our aim will be identifying those who are involved in cattle smuggling directly or indirectly. If we find evidence against anyone, we will not wait for a complainant to turn up and lodge a formal complaint. Instead, we will lodge an FIR suo moto and take lawful action against the accused,” said another CBI officer.