Cross-border cow smuggling trade
The Central Bureau of Investigation’s probe into cow smuggling along the India-Bangladesh border has revealed a well-oiled nexus between smugglers and a section of officers from the BSF and the Customs Department.
- 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.
- Each cow is priced in the range of Rs 80,000 to 90,000 (breeds from UP and Haryana) and Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 (smaller size breeds from Bengal) 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 auction value of these cattle were reduced which were then procured at a considerably lower price by these 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.
- The officials of Indian Customs used to take bribes of 10% of the auction price from successful bidders.
- 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.