Alleging that a camel slaughter racket is operating in Baghpat,Uttar Pradesh,Member of Parliament (MP) Maneka Gandhi on Wednesday requested the Punjab and Haryana High Court to order a Central agency to probe the matter.
Senior lawyer Anupam Gupta,appearing on behalf of Maneka Gandhi,alleged that camel owners sell the animals for slaughter. Gupta proposed that an inquiry be conducted by Animal Welfare Board,a statutory body which has expertise in conducting investigations in such cases. Highlighting the credibility of the Board,Gupta said the Supreme Court has entrusted investigation in several matters to the Animal Welfare Board of India.
Elaborating on the racket,Gupta said after slaughtering the camels,their flesh is sold in Meerut,Hyderabad and also exported to Bangladesh. He said artefacts are made from the bones of camels. He referred to several letters highlighting the racket,sent by Maneka Gandhi to Chief Ministers of Haryana,Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
During the resumed hearing of a suo motu petition on Wednesday,wherein the High Court had issued notices to Haryana Police and Gandhis animal shelter,Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre,New Delhi,after a Gurgaon Court referred the matter to the High Court.
Suspecting a nexus between Haryana Police and the animal shelter,the Gurgaon Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) had referred to an incident in which eight poor persons had alleged that they were owners of 68 camels seized by Haryana Police. The eight persons were arrested on the complaint of the animal shelter,which alleged that the camels were being taken for slaughter. Haryana Police had booked them under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960.
CJM Gurgaon,in an order in April,had observed that the Haryana Police diluted the charges against the accused,who were later released on bail. The judge held that the camels,which were released to Gandhis animal shelter,were not given to the persons claiming to be the owners. They alleged that the animal care centre had demanded Rs 24 lakh for taking care of the camels for seven days.
Gandhis counsel Gupta denied allegations. CJM in her report has suspected a racket. Racket there is,but of the opposite kind. The CJM has stood the truth on its head, he said. Gupta gave an undertaking on behalf of Gandhi,that not a single penny will be charged by the animal shelter for the camels upkeep. Gupta said injured camels were treated by doctors of BSF camel regiment.
Gupta demanded a probe by a Central agency to unravel the racket. Asking the parties to file their affidavits,the High Court on Wednesday directed Gandhis animal shelter to immediately release the 68 camels to their owners.