With the arrest of Birbhum Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Anubrata Mondal, various aspects of cattle smuggling in West Bengal have come to the fore.
For instance, if 1,000 cows were smuggled from Murshidabad’s Raghunathgunj-Suti route, how would the customers know which is their batch?
For this, sources said, smugglers had devised a way.
The ‘note method’.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Sources said smugglers used note identification to give out the batches of cattle.
One group was given the responsibility of taking out cash from bank with a specific denomination, say Rs 20, Rs 100 and so on. The agent carrying the cattle with the wad, of say Rs 100, used to convey the number on the currency note to the customer.
The Customs and Border Security Force (BSF) officers also used to get a huge amount of money from the smugglers, said sources, adding that Raghunathgunj and Suti police stations in the area are also on the CBI’s radar. The system was mastered by Enamul Haque. After Haque’s arrest, the scope of cattle smuggling in the area reduced considerably, said sources.
Sources said cattle was brought from western parts of India such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Bihar.
Areas such as Bankura, Puruliya, Birbhum and Murshidabad districts were key. Cattle which entered from the western part of Bengal travelled through Birbhum, with Rampurhat as the point of entry into Murshidabad. The cattle from upper Ganga part of Bihar entered through Islampur-Raiganj and reached Raghunathgunj and Suti. Cattle also used to travel through Islampur to Assam.
Cattle from the southern states of India entered through Paschim Medinipur and Jhargram to reach North 24 Parganas.
Locals said the cattle was smuggled through their farm lands, destroying the crops. If the farmers protested, they were threatened with Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act cases.
Sources said most of the stakeholders were players in this system, which is why nobody questioned them.