Acting swiftly on India TV’s sting operation that exposed major licensed meat exporters clandestinely selling beef, the Uttar Pradesh Police has raided two houses in search for the accused who have now gone ‘underground.’
A team of the UP Police today visited the house of trader Waqil Qureshi in Hapur but found the house locked and the accused missing.
According to police, Qureshi had gone underground ever since the sting was aired yesterday evening. They also noted that there were children’s voices coming from the house which was locked from inside.
Police have undertaken a thorough probe and are questioning neighbours.
In Meerut, the police raided the house of one Liaqat Ali but found the building locked from the outside. The police team is looking for the accused and has also asked for his whereabouts from the neighbours.
Talking to India TV, Ranjvijay Singh, Meerut City Circle Officer, said,” We have got information that some people have give statements to some TV channel and have said some objectionable things regarding cow slaughter. We have initiated a probe and are looking for the person.”
“We wanted some information from his to verify the facts. We have registered a case,” he said.
He said the case has been retightened against under IPC section 295A.
UP Police's ADG (Law and Order) Daljit Chaudhary told India TV that they have taken suo moto cognizance of the channel’s sting and a separate team will soon verify the video to establish the facts.
“We will examine each aspect of the sting. If the facts are established, definitely stern action will be taken against the involved parties,” he said.
“This is illegal. If they have been doing this (beef trade) since long, we also have to scrutinise the legal side of the matter and under what sections the charges will be slapped on them,” he added.
Meanwhile, the state has warned of stern action against those indulging in slaughter of cows.
“Have patience, cow slaughtering is banned in Uttar Pradesh, the law was framed by the BJP government when it was in power in the state,” Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya said today.
“The government will certainly take action if we receive any complaint,” he added.
State Power Minister Shrikant Sharma said that the government has made strengthening law and order and no illegal activities wil be tolerated.
“This government is committed to establish law and order situation in the state. Restoring law and order means ‘raam-rajya’. The law will take its own course. Wherever lapses are reported, we will take action. Export (of beef) is completely ban here and people if found involved will be brought to the book,” he said.
Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh said, “The law clearly says cow slaughter is illegal. No one will be spared if found guilty.”
“Killing cow to supply meat is wrong. Stern action will be taken against the cow killers,” another Minister Ramapati Shastri said.
In major sting operations carried out by India TV's undercover reporters, two prominent licensed meat exporters in western UP were caught on camera agreeing to supply cow meat for export to Gulf countries.
In the first sting operation carried out in Hapur, Waqil Qureshi, a major buffalo meat exporter with a licensed slaughterhouse, and his partner Faizal Khan, offered to add cow meat with that of buffalo’s in containers meant for export to Gulf countries.
When our reporter pointed out that slaughter and sale of beef was banned in UP, Qureshi replied: "Kitna bhi ban kar rakha hai, sab pahunch jayega, Aap tension mat lo, Jahan ban hota hai, wahin kaam zyada hota hai". (Don't take tension, wherever there is a ban, the trade goes on better).
In the second sting operation conduced against Liaqat Ali, proprietor of a STAR rated buffalo meat exporting company Al-Hind Exports, based in Meerut, the latter promptly agreed to supply beef for export.
When India TV undercover reporter asked Liaqat Ali how his firm would export beef, now that it has been banned, Ali replied: "In the form of Frozen, boneless, buffalo..Indian halal..Frozen..Boneless buffalo".
Meanwhile, the Meerut administration has taken immediate cognisance of the report and the district SSP is also probing the case.
“We have taken cognisance of the India TV report soon after it was aired. The SSP has also been informed about it. If what the sting claims is correct, it falls under the category of a criminal offence. We can assure you that proper action will be taken in this regard as per process and in binding with the rules of procedure,” Meerut District Magistrate Sameer Verma told India TV.