Tehelka SIT report reveals the nuts and bolts of the thriving business of cattle smuggling along the Bangladesh border. This illegal business is a cash cow which no one wants to take by its horns as it is an industry worth billions of dollars and involves the high and mighty.
“I used to pay between Rs 5K to Rs 10K to the police and between Rs 3K to Rs 5K to Gau Rakshaks at 10-12 points along the entire stretch while carrying cows illegally in a truck from Jhansi to Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh. The payment of ‘protection money’ to both the police and the Gau Rakshaks would ensure a secure passage for us, and we would reach our destination safely. Sometimes, Gau Rakshaks even used to escort our truck on their motorcycles for a short distance to make sure that no other group of their ilk would harass us on the way.” This is Javed Ahmed [Name changed] for you; who, along with his brother in-law, used to illegally transport cows in his truck from Jhansi to Sambhal in 2010-11.
Javed claimed that the professed objective of the of Gau Rakshaks, the vigilante groups, to protect cows is nothing more than a charade. “Instead, they, in connivance with the police, are actually into the business of making money in the name of protecting cows,” he said.
Javed told Tehelka that while smuggling cows from one city to another, he and his business partner, who was also his brother-in-law, were caught several times by the police despite paying bribe. This happened because when the cops faced heat from their seniors, they were constrained to make arrests just to show ‘results’ in their purported drive against cattle smugglers. But the truth is something else. Actually, their objective is not to save cows but to profit under the guise of cow protection. However, Javed added that every time they were arrested for cattle smuggling, they were out on bail in no time.
Javed further said that his illegal business of transporting cows gradually ground to halt after his trucks were seized by the police and he and his brother in-law were arrested. According to Javed, his trucks were intercepted by the police four times over at the same check point, in Sikandara Rao town of Uttar Pradsh. Javed said that obviously the police had been tipped off by an informer. He said when his truck was intercepted and seized by the police for the first time, he was of the view that they should close down this business, but his brother-in-law did not come on board. “My brother-in-law was consumed by the lure of quick money, so he disregarded my warning and persisted with the business,” he said.
This resulted in trucks being intercepted not once or twice, but four times over. That too at the same spot on that stretch. He said that they were caught red handed as the cows were recovered from the trucks. Javed said that he spent more than six-seven lakh rupees on legal battle before they were acquitted in the case and got the trucks released from custody. Thereafter, they put a full stop to this business and were now waiting for the right opportunity to resume the same.
While Javed told Tehelka about the involvement of the law enforcement agencies in the cow smuggling, a similar point was raised by the Enforcement Directorate [ED] in its chargesheet submitted in the cattle smuggling case. The chargesheet said that the cattle were smuggled across the Indo-Bangladesh border with the connivance of the Border Security Force [BSF] personnel. The 204-page chargesheet was filed before the Rouse Avenue court in Delhi, in which the central probe agency had alleged that BSF personnel were complicit in cow smuggling activities.
For about two and a half years, the BSF, hit by bribery allegations, made a determined effort to home in on those patronizing cattle smuggling at the Eastern border. The animals were smuggled from various parts of the country like Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhand besides other states. The smugglers travel almost 1,500 to 2,000 kilometres, mostly on the sly and with fake documents, on trucks and pick-up vans. However, these smugglers are seldom intercepted or their vehicles seized en route as they bribe their way through various check points and hurdles put by Gau Rakshaks on the highway.
While the CBI and ED had claimed the involvement of some cattle smugglers with some BSF officials and some state police officials, Tehelka gained insight into the world of cattle smugglers through Javed Ahmed, who admitted his involvement in the business of illegally transporting cows in trucks. He candidly explained how he was paying money to Gau Rakshaks and state police officials to ensure smooth run of their business.
Reporter – Kabhi ye log nahi miley tumhe rastey mein.. ye Gaurakshak?
Javed -Ye mil jatey they, ye bhi paisey le liya kartey they.
Reporter – Arey nahi..?
Javed – Aur kya.. ye to khamakha ka dikhawa hai.. hum ye kam kartey hain.. gau mata ko bacha rahe hain..
Reporter – Aapka kitna kharcha aa jata hoga in sabko paisey dene mein..police walon aur gaurakshakon ko?
Javed- Ye to 3-4 log hotey they…kahin 5K, kahin 10K, kahin 2K, kahin 3 K.
[ Javed told Tehelka how he used to grease the palms of Gau Rakshaks and police officials for safe passage for his trucks loaded with cows]
Now, Javed disclosed that while generally he did manage to bribe his way through various barriers on the route, he was also caught several times by the police while he was ferrying cows in his truck. However, he said that the arrests made by the police were an eyewash to demonstrate to their bosses that they were earnestly doing their duty to protect cows.
Reporter- Matlab kai baar maal pakda bhi jata tha kya, police wala sakht ho gaya?
Javed- Haan pakde bhi jatey hain, ye pakadwa detey hain police se, k tum hamari mata ko le jatey ho.
Reporter- Aap to keh rahe ho ye khud le letey they paise…ye gaurakshak.?
Javed- Ye to aisa kartey hain alag mein jahan ye dekha ki tadad mein zyada hain to wahan dikhana bhi to hai kuch.police wale kuch to dikhayenge..
[ Javed said these arrests were made by cops just to hoodwink their superiors into believing that they were actively working on curbing illicit trade of cow smuggling]
Despite being caught by the police many a time, why Javed decided to carry on with the illegal business instead of putting a halt on it? Javed said that his attempts to convince his brother-in-law to stop the business bore no fruit.
Reporter- Phir kyun band kar diya aapne, kafi saal kaam kiya hai.?.
Javed- Char gadiyan pakdi gayi, char gadiyon mein 8 lakh rupaiye lag gaye..
Reporter- Kiski gadiyan pakdi gayi.?.
Javed- Saale ki aur hamari..mainey ussey kaha.. rehne de ab.. bahut kama liye
Reporter- Kis mamley mein pakdi gayin..?
Javed- Isi mamley mein.. Gai wale mein..
Reporter- Zamanat ho gayi..?
Javed – Haan zamanat wagairah sab ho gayi..us time par to
Reporter- Kitney din rahe jail mein ?
Javed- 2-3 din..
Reporter- 4 truck pakde gaye iske, ek saath ?
Javed- Ek saath nahi..alag alag .aaj pakda gaya.. phir chuta ke doosre chakker mein pakda gaya.
Reporter- Pakde janey k baad bhi kaam kartey rahe… tab to band kar detey bhai..
Javed – Wahi to.mainey kaha bewakoof aadmi ko..jo kamaya hai wo sab chala jayega..
Reporter- Aur wahi hua..
Javed- Wahi hua.
Reporter- Mein wahi to pooch raha hoon.. jab aap inhe paisa de rahe ho to pakde kaise gaye..?
Javed- Ye saare k saare elakey mein ek hi thodi na hai…
Reporter- Ye Sikandra Rao Aligarh k raastey mein padta hoga ?
Reporter- Wahan pakde gaye?
Javed- Wahan pe jaisey gadi khadi hui hai, aagey railway crossing hai, naaley pe chadh kar dekh liya dikh to jaati hi hain.. jaisey hi gate khula wo aa gaye, police aayi, phir wo aaye, kaha ki gao mata ka sauda kar rahe ho.
[Javed said that the trucks owned by him and his brother-in-law were intercepted by the police four times over at the same spot at Sikandra Rao in Uttar Pradesh. He believed this was indicative of someone tipping off the police about their movements. Javed said that his advice to his brother-in-law to stop this business for the time being fell on deaf ears initially. However, he finally relented after his truck was seized for the fourth time and the ensuing legal battle to get the vehicle released from police custody burnt a hole in their pocket.]
Now, Javed explained how they were procuring cows from Rajasthan through members of a community that traditionally lived by the roadside, before supplying them to Uttar Pradesh. He said that these people used to illegally gather abandoned cows loitering in the forest area around them and then hand them over to cattle smugglers for a price. Javed claimed that these individuals would herd together 50-100 cows daily and then inform the smugglers about the location from where they could collect the cattle.
Reporter – Accha pichli baar aap system samjha rahe they.. gai ko kahan se le jatey hain..Rajasthan se?
Javed – Haan Rajasthan se.
Reporter – Kahan se kaise latey hain ye gai?
Javed – Rajasthan mein ye jo hain n loha kootney wale, road par, inhein XXXX boltey hain, ye log ikaathi kar letey hain dhoond dhand ke, aur jungle to bhatera hai wahan, to wo wahan se ikatha karke unhein baandh liya, aur wahan jo vyapari hotey hain, unko bata diya …bhai kitna maal hai, 100-50, us hisab se, raat ko gadi mein rakhwa diya..
Reporter – Wo gai to kisi aur ki hongi, ye kaise ikathi kar lenge?
Javed – Ye wo to aisey hi chodh detey, Hindu log kehtey hain Gau mata hai, raat ko aisey hi sadko par road side baithi rehti hain..
Reporter – Wo aisey hi ghoomti rehti hain.. wo ye chori kar letey honge XXXX ?
Javed – Haan, chori karke, ya kya kaho wahan to ghoom rahi hain lawarris, kisi ki hai thodi.
Reporter- To kitni ikatha ho jati hain inko roz ?
Javed –Roz 50-100
Reporter- Roz 50-100 ikathi ho jati hain gai.?
Javed- Gadiyan bharkar aati hain..
Reporter- Kya baat kar rahe ho.?.
Javed – Haan
Reporter – 10-10 gadi gaiyon ki bharkar aati hain kahan se kahan tak ?
Javed – Ye to wahan tak jati thi.. Delhi tak..waha se aagey nikal jati thi..Rampur..gaon mein.
Reporter – Aur truck mein bhari rehti thi..bahar se dikhti thi kya ?
Javed – Nahi…Wo to bhari aur laga diya patliyon mein..
Reporter – Rastey mein police wale nahi roktey they ?
Javed – Police ka to paisey ka hisab bana rehta hai na..
[Javed explained where they were fetching the cows from in Rajasthan and from whom.]
Now, Javed revealed the route he travelled on for transporting cattle illegally. He said that that though cow smuggling business has slowed down it is still happening, albeit very discreetly.
Reporter – Aapka pehla route kaunsa tha..?
Javed – Pehla route tha Jhansi…Jhansi se Sambhal..
Reporter- Ye aapka route tha ?
Javed – Haan ..kaam bilkul band pada hua hai..
Reporter – Kuch to pehchaan wale hongey wahan puraney.. un se kar lo baat
Reporter – Maal ja kaise raha hai ab.?
Javed – Maal ja raha hai asiey hi chori chupey…maal kat nahi raha hai is taraf..
[Javed said that he travelled the road between Jhansi to Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh. Javed claimed that cow smuggling is still happening, though very discreetly, in Uttar Pradesh. But, according to him, slaughtering is not carried out in the state anymore.]
Javed now tells Tehelka that the time he was operating, he used to carry 52-53 cows in his truck. He said that he used to pay money to Gau Rakshaks at 10-12 ‘check points’ along the stretch.
Reporter- Aap pehle jab truck latey they.. kitni Gai latey they 1 truck mein.?
Javed- 52-53 Gai..
Reporter- Aur kitni jagah paisa detey they ?
Javed- kam se kam 10-12 jagah..
Reporter- Aap policewalon ko hi detey they.. ya inko bhi.. gaurakshakon ko..?
Javed- Haan inko detey they aur gaurakshakon ka to elaka hota tha set..ek aadmi khada hota tha inka….gadi mein se haath daala nikal liye.. ab inke thikaney hi to nahi pata..jaise road par khada hua hai, isey pata hai ki gadi aa rahi hai, paise diye aur gadi aagey..ye motocycle se aagey tak chodh kar aatey they..
[Javed admitted that when he was in this business, he used to carry 52-53 cows in his truck, and used to pay money to the cops and to the Gau Rakshaks at 10-12 points on his route. After this, the Gau-rakshaks used to escort their truck for some distance on their motorcycles for ensuring our safe passage.]
Now, Javed disclosed to Tehelka the route on which he travelled while transporting cows illegally. According to him, he used to pick cows from Jhansi at around 8.30 pm, and would reach Sambhal at 6 am.
Reporter- Gaadi aap hi chala rahe hotey they ya koi aur..?
Javed- Na na gadi mein nahi chalata tha ,gadi to driver chalata tha.
Reporter – Aap baithey rehtey they ?
Javed – Aagey peechey chaltey they.
Reporter – Accha truck k saath apni gadi lekar ?
Javed – Haan.
Reporter – Kitney baje nikaltey they aap raat mein ya din mein..?
Javed – Raat mein 8-8.30 baje aur subah 6 baje pahuch jatey they,.
Reporter – Subah 6 baje, usi time par nikaltey hain..
Reporter – Aur Jhansi se kahan se uthatey they aap.?
Javed – Jhansi se pehle padta hai ek more..kanpur se ye Etah Etawah hotey hue right maartey they bhowalipur, wahan se seedha kalpi, kalpi se moth, moth se jungle mein..
Reporter- Aur jungle mein kis se kharidtey they..?
Javed – XXXX se, arey sab jagah yahi hain.?
Reporter- To inse roz latey they aap..?
Javed – Daily..
Javed – Hamara hi nahi tha wahan ek to wo tha Kanpur ka kasai, kam se kam 40-50 gadiyan aati thi ..
Reporter- Roz Gai se bhari hui..?
Javed- Haan 10-11..roz
Reporter- Jhansi se sambhal…sambal gadh hai kya in sab cheezon ka…?
Javed- Haan…asal mein haat bhi lagtey hain wahan pe…
Reporter- Aapki gadi kitni aati thi roz…?
Javed -Ek aati thi.
Reporter- Daily ?
Javed – haan daily jaise aaj yahan se gaye, pahuch gaye wahan pe phir wahan se, wahan jaker khadi kar di dhadbe pe, khana khaya ..phir raat ko wapsi, 8.30 baje phone aa jata tha gadi laga do..
[Javed said that he never travelled in the truck carrying cows. That truck was always driven by a hired driver, with him following that truck in a separate Bolero vehicle. Javed said that he used to pick cows from Jhansi. In the evening, they used to start at 8.30 and reach Sambhal at 6 the next morning. According to Javed, a butcher from Kanpur used to get 10-11 trucks full of cows from Jhansi daily. And he himself used to bring one truck full of cows daily.]
Now, Javed disclosed the cost they would incur while purchasing cows from the members of the community by the roadsides in Rajasthan. ]
Reporter – Accha ek truck ki kitni keemat hoti hogi, ek truck Gaiyon ki..?
Javed – Hogi koi 2-2.30 lakh.
Reporter – Aur bikti kitne ki thi..?
Javed – Na wahan se kharidtey they to bikti itney ki thi…50-60 K mein mil jati thi..
Reporter – 50-60 k mein mil jata tha poora truck gai ka ?
Javed – Haan.. 600-700 ki padthi thi 1 gai.
Reporter – Ek Gai..kya baat kar rahe ho jo aap bata rahe ho sadak k kinarey baithey rehti hain..?
Javed – Haan
Reporter- Itni sasti bechtey they…kitney ki ?
Javed- 700 ki, 800 ki..
Reporter- Haan to unko to free ki padh rahi hain..
Javed- 50-60 k kaun se kam hain..?
[According to Javed, they used to purchase cows from these people at the rate of Rs 600-800 per cow. For the community, the cows were not costing anything as they were picking up abandoned cows. Javed said that one truck full of cows used to cost him Rs 50-60 thousands. And he would sell the same for Rs 2-2.30 lakh.]
To whom he was supplying cows in Sambhal ? In response to this, Javed replied that he was making supplies to butchers of Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh.
Reporter- Aur aapki supply kisko thi wahan sambhal mein..?
Javed – Sambhal mein kasai le jatey they..?
[ Javed told Tehelka that he was supplying cows to butchers of Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh ]
[Now, Javed while mentioning about earnings he stressed upon the short-lived nature of this illegal business. He also dwelled about the risks involved, with the police eventually getting tipped off leading to potential imprisonment.]
Reporter – To kitney total kamaye they aapne..?
Javed – 8-9 lakh kama liye they ek- dedh mahine mein..gai ki supply se.
Reporter – 8-9 lakh ek mahiney mein.. ye kab ki baat hai.?
Javed – 2010 -2011.
Reporter- Kab se kab tak chala hai ?
Javed – Ye zyada thodi chalta hai ye kaam zyada se zyada 5-6 mahiney.
Reporter – Accha iska bhi season hota hai..?
Javed – Season nahi, ye hota hai na nigah mein aa jaata hai, mukhbari ho gayi.
[Javed disclosed that in a month and a half, he earned Rs 8-9 lakh in the business of cattle smuggling in 2010-11. However, he hastened to add that this business doesn’t last long. It has a short life span of 5-6 months. After that, invariably, the police is tipped off and the person ends up in jail, he said.]
Now, Javed talks about the cattle smugglers he knows in West Bengal and Assam and the possibility of introducing them to us.
Reporter – Doosra yahan se ho sakti hai kya Kolkata se …Bangladesh jati hai jo smuggling hokar cow (Gai)…Bengal ka, Murshidabad ka koi admi ho.?.
Javed – Ho to jayega.. magar jugaad karna padega, Bengal mein chal raha hai kaam ye is time..
Reporter – Bengal mein kara do.?.
Javed – Bengal mein chal raha hai shayad assam mein bhi chal raha hai..wo hi hai.. jana padta hai..
Reporter – Bengal mein hai aapki setting ?
Javed – Haan, ho jayegi.
Reporter – Ye gai supply kartey hain Bangladesh border cross karke..wo karni hai hamey.
[Javed tells us that he knows people in West Bengal and Assam who are into this business of smuggling cows to Bangladesh. He said he would introduce them to us, but for that, we will need to travel to West Bengal.”]
According to Javed, the cattle smugglers supplying cows to Bangladesh are active both in Assam and in West Bengal. He said that he had connections at both places. But he would need to travel to both the places to talk to them.
Now, Javed talks about the cattle smugglers operating in Assam and West Bengal and his connections in both locations.
Reporter – Assam se karwa do.?
Javed – Assam jana padega mujhe.
Reporter – Filhaal kahan connection hain aapke.?.
Javed – Assam mein bhi hai.. aur Bengal mein bhi hai..
Reporter- dono jagah se karwa do..?
[According to Javed, the cattle smugglers supplying cows to Bangladesh are active both in Assam and West Bengal. He said that he had connections at both places. But he would need to travel to both places to have discussions with them.]
Reporter – Aakhiri baar kahan XXXXX ?
Javed – Wahan Assam mein Guwhati mein wahan XXXX..
Reporter – Assam mein bik raha hai gai ka gosht ?
Javed – Haan..
Reporter – Kab gaye they aap ?
Javed – Ho gaya mujhko lagbhag 1 saal..
Reporter- Assam mein XXXXX tha Hotel mein . Khuley aam bik raha hai..?
Reporter- Assam mein to BJP ki sarkar hai.?.
Javed- Kitni bhi ho.
Javed- Wahan nikal kar sari setting kar lunga…gadi waley bahut khatey hain na..?
Reporter – Truck waley?
Javed – Haan sab khatey hain hotel mein.
Reporter- Dhabon par gai ka gosht ?
Javed- Aur kya sab khatey hain…aur bataun tumhein, Maharashtra mein, Karnataka mein, mewatiyon k hotel khuley hue hain, khoob mil raha hai gai ka gosht, wahi girayi unlogon ne, wahi kati jungle mein, yahan to char boti detey hain, wahan itni itni plate bhar kar detey hain.
Javed- Ye mein Sholapur gaya tha mein pichley saal gadi lekar..wahan par XXXX
Reporter- Gai ka gosht XXXXXXXXX ?
Reporter- Aur Karnataka mein ?
Javed- Karnataka mein bhi.
Reporter- wo kab XXXXXXXX ?
Javed- Wo bhi pichley saal wahi se aagey chale gaye they Karnataka..
Now, Javed made another startling revelation. According to him, a year ago, when he travelled to Assam, Karnataka, and Maharashtra with his truck to supply goods, he saw beef being served at the roadside dhabas of the three states. The three states Javed named are among those where cow slaughter is banned by their respective state governments
This was Javed for you. He revealed the inside story of cattle smuggling world to Tehelka reporter. Cattle smuggling along the Bangladesh border is a cash cow that no one wants to take by its horns. Instead people fear waving the red flag considering the political and criminal muscle the smuggling kingpins could flex. After all, the illegal trade’s worth is estimated at hundred of crores of rupees, and it involves the high and mighty.