Chhattisgarh BJP leader who ran cow shelters traded dead cows, bones, skin

Chhattisgarh BJP leader Harish Verma is linked to three cow shelters where cattle deaths, allegedly of starvation and lack of medicines, were reported.

india Updated: Aug 26, 2017 21:27 IST
Ritesh  Mishra
Ritesh Mishra
Hindustan Times, Raipur
Chhattisgarh BJP,cow deaths,cattle deaths
Harish Verma was suspended by the BJP after his arrest on August 18. (HT Photo / Ritesh Mishra)

Chhattisgarh BJP leader Harish Verma who was arrested after the death of nearly 300 cows at his cow shelters routinely sold dead cattle to butchers and traded in their skin and bones, according to police.

The state’s Gau Sewa Ayog (official body for bovine welfare) levelled this allegation against Verma in its complaint to the police.

“The Gau Sewa Ayog’s allegation was found to be true,” Durg inspector general of police Deepanshu Kabra told HT on Saturday. “Some of the accused have given statements that dead cows were sold to butchers. Details will come out soon,” said Kabra.

Verma, whom the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suspended after his arrest on August 18, is linked to three cow shelters where cattle deaths, allegedly of starvation and lack of medicines, were reported.

He ran the Shagun Goshala (cow shelter) in Durg district; his wife, Laxmi Verma, operated the Phulchandra Goshala in adjoining Bemetara district; and his relative, M Narayanan, was in charge of Mayuri Goshala, also in Bemetara, said police. All three cow shelters functioned with funding from the Gau Sewa Ayog.

Verma, who is in police custody, has been charged under sections 4 and 6 of Chhattisgarh Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act -2004, Section 11 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 and Section 409 of Indian Penal Code.

Verma, vice-president of Jamul Nagar Nigam (civic body), came under the scanner after nearly 200 cows died this month at Shagun Goshala cow shelter in Rajpur village. Officials spotted nearly 40 carcasses, but villagers alleged that many dead cows had been clandestinely buried or disposed of, said police.

Police have registered three separate FIRs against the operators of the three cowsheds and are on the lookout for seven others accused in the cases.

According to the FIRs lodged on the complaint of the Gau Sewa Ayog, Mayuri Goshala (established in June 2015) has so far received grant of Rs 22.64 lakh, Phulchandra Goshala (established in 2014) has got Rs 50 lakh, and Shagun Goshala has received Rs 93 lakh since 2011.

The Gau Sewa Ayog has alleged that the money was not used in the cow shelters. Police are looking into allegations that cows were deliberately starved and allowed to die. Verma has claimed cows died at his Shagun Goshala in a wall collapse.

First Published: Aug 26, 2017 16:06 IST