The BSF official is allegedly involved with cattle smuggling racket operating at the Bangladesh-India border in West Bengal
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a BSF commandant for his alleged involvement in a cattle smuggling racket operating at the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal.
Satish Kumar, the BSF commandant, was summoned to Kolkata for questioning in connection with the case by the CBI, which arrested him after interrogating him for hours, reports Press Trust of India (PTI).
"Satish Kumar has been arrested. A case was registered against him two months ago. He will be produced before a court on Wednesday," the CBI source said.
A case was filed on September 21, 2020, against the former commandant of 36 Battalion, Border Security Force (BSF), three private persons and unknown public servants, who were allegedly involved in illegal cattle trade along the West Bengal-Bangladesh border, according to a CBI statement.
Citing conditions of anonymity, a senior BSF official of the South Bengal Frontier said that Satish Kumar was commandant in the South Bengal Frontier of the BSF and is now posted in Raipur in Chhattisgarh. His home in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, was raided in September, reported by Hindustan Times.
The CBI is investigating the alleged involvement of several BSF and customs officials in the ongoing probe into cattle smuggling along the West Bengal-Bangladesh border, involving crores of rupees.
Kumar, who was stationed as the commandant of the 36th Battalion of the BSF's South Bengal Frontier then, and three others were booked for rustling cattle, the source said.
Enamul Haque, the alleged kingpin of the cattle smuggling racket, was also booked along with Kumar.
Haque had been arrested by the CBI on November 6 in New Delhi. A court in the national capital had granted him interim bail and told him to appear before the CBI in Kolkata on November 9.
He came to the agency's office and claimed he might have contracted Covid-19. Following this the CBI asked him to visit it on November 24.
Haque was arrested in 2018 by the CBI for allegedly bribing another BSF commandant and is out on bail in that case, reports PTI.
Cattle are traded illegally on the Indian North-West Frontier at Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Thakurgaon, Chapainawabganj and Rajshahi. Despite the strictures of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), a class of smugglers, reportedly with the help of some officers and members of the BSF, has been trading cattle illegally.
The CBI reportedly also found the involvement of the BSF in the investigation of some incidents in which innocent Bangladeshi cattle traders were killed by the BSF at the border.
Asked to comment on the matter, a BGB official from the Rangpur region, who did not want to be named, said: “The BSF is involved in the illegal cattle trade, and yet it is Bangladeshi traders who are losing their lives. Perhaps the Indian government took this initiative so that the ties between the two countries remain intact.”
The Director of Rangpur 61 BGB Battalion, Mozammel Haque, declined to comment on the matter.
Samiul Islam, a senior journalist from Patgram Upazila, said: “Many youths from different villages of Patgram Upazila have lost their lives to the BSF. Traders who refuse to give them bribes are shot down.”
“Cattle traders dying at the hands of the BSF has been the subject of much tension between the two nations. The recent investigations and arrests will go a long way towards improving ties,” he added.