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Current Affairs

CBI probe into cross-border cattle smuggling

Date: 08 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

CBI’s probe into cow smuggling along the India-Bangladesh border has revealed a nexus between smugglers and a section of officers from the BSF and the Customs Department. 

 

Background

Tens of thousands of cattle are estimated to be smuggled into Bangladesh annually through the porous 2,216-km India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal. 

 

Details

  • The CBI found that more than 20,000 cows were seized by the Border Security Force before being transported across the border.

  • The seizure lists were prepared arbitrarily, categorizing the breed and size of the animals with an intention to reduce the upset price of the cattle during auctions. 

  • Each cow is priced in the range of Rs 80,000 to 90,000 and Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 depending on size and demand in Bangladesh.

  • The prices shoot up during Eid and when there is a high demand for export from Bangladesh for packaged meat. It is more than double the procurement price in India.

  • The size of the seized cattle was reduced in the seizure memo of the BSF. The auction value of these cattle were reduced which were then procured at a considerably lower price by the traders.

  • The central agency alleged that only selected traders were allowed to buy the seized cattle at a low price in auctions. After auctions, the cattle were smuggled into Bangladesh.

  • It is alleged that, in lieu of such favour, traders used to pay Rs. 2,000 per cattle to BSF officials and Rs. 500 to Customs officials.

  • Besides, the CBI claims that the officials of Indian Customs used to take bribes of 10% of the auction price from successful bidders.

  • It was also alleged that although BSF had not raised any grazing charges on the Customs Department for feeding the seized cattle but Rs. 50/- per cattle was to be paid by the successful bidders to the officials of the BSF.

 

Political significance

  • Many have questioned the pro-activeness of the central investigating agency in pursuing the case ahead of the assembly election due in less than six months.

  • After the recent raids, the BJP has upped its ante against the ruling Trinamool Congress, accusing it of involvement in illegal cattle and coal trades.