Bhopal: In a 10-hour long operation, the Balaghat police of Madhya Pradesh rescued 165 bovines from Lalbarra area of the district on January 25-26, which were allegedly being smuggled for slaughter in Maharashtra, the police said.
Acting on a tip-off from local residents, the Lalbarra police reached Bailgaon village and found a group of people taking some cows and oxen to the Maharashtra borders, claiming to be traders from the Mau cattle market (Indore), the Balaghat police said.
When the police sought papers, they denied and tried to escape. “After a 10-hour-long operation, we have detained 10 people, rescued 165 bovines and seized four bikes,” said Raghunath Khatarkar of Lalbarra police station, over the phone.
The police has registered an FIR (first information report) against 20 people, including the general secretary of Balaghat BJP’s youth wing, Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha’s (BJYM) Manoj Pardhi under Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the MP Gauwansh Vadh Pratishedh Act, MP Pashu Krurta Niwaran Act, MP Krishi Parikshan Act and Motor Vehicles Act and arrested 10 people. However, the kingpin, including Pardhi, are still absconding, the police said.
The incident comes two days after the Lalbarra police seized a vehicle carrying 25 bovines during night duty at Balaghat-Seoni road on January 24.
During police interrogation, one of the accused claimed that they used to nab stray bovines and smuggle them into Maharashtra for slaughter and received good money for it. “They handover the bovines to one of their agents living in a village close to the Balaghat-Maharashtra border, who sell these to the owners of slaughter houses,” the police said.
“It was an organised syndicate, and has been running since the last couple of years with the support from contractors and due to political connections. The investigation is on and soon we will arrest the kingpin of this syndicate,” town inspector Khatarkar added.
According to sources, a similar case of bovine smuggling had been registered against BJYM’s Pardhi a year ago, but no action has been taken against him.
In the current seizure, the police rescued more than 400 bovines from smugglers, the source claimed.
Abhilash Pandey, state president of BJYM did respond to calls. While, Gajendra Bhardwaj, BJP Balaghat president, said: “I have heard about the Manoj’s involvement in a case related to cow smuggling. This is just an accusation, and if proved, the party will take strict action against him.”