‘Gau rakshak’ held for extortion bid in Punjab


AFTER a case was registered against Punjab Gau Sewa Dal chief Satish Kumar, the Rajpura police Tuesday arrested another ‘gau rakshak’ for allegedly attempting to extort money from a cattle trader who was taking cows in a pick-up vehicle from Khanna in Punjab to Ambala in Haryana.

This is the second FIR registered in the past three days against gau rakshaks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that some gau rakshaks were harassing people in the name of cow protection.

The police, however, are yet to arrest Satish Kumar, who was booked along with some of his supporters Sunday. His close associates claim that Kumar will surrender before the police soon.

Officers at Rajpura Sadar police station said Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Karnal, was arrested Tuesday after a trader, Kamal Kishore, also a Haryana resident, lodged a complaint against him. Rajesh Kumar was produced in a Patiala court and sent to judicial custody.

Kamal Kishore in his complaint to the police, alleged that he purchased two cows from Khanna and was going to Ambala in his pick-up truck and when he reached near Sarai Banjara village around 7 km from Rajpura, he was intercepted by a Mahindra XUV bearing a blue beacon atop.

According to Kishore, he stopped his vehicle following which Rajesh came out of the XUV and started accusing him of smuggling cows and also threatened to get an FIR registered against him. Kishore claimed that when he told Rajesh that he was not a smuggler, he made “casteist remarks” at him.

Kishore alleged that Rajesh also demanded Rs 25,000 from him to “settle” the matter following which Kishore went to the police station and lodged a complaint. A case was registered against Rajesh under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code including Sections 341(wrongful restraint ), 382 (Theft after preparation made for causing death) and 384/511 (attempt to extort money) at Rajpura Sadar police station.

However, Station House Officer (SHO) sub-inspector Harvinder Singh told about a different story that Rajesh narrated. “Rajesh Kumar told us that he wanted to buy the cows at cheaper rate from the cattle traders, a business he claimed he started a few months ago. Rajesh used to stop cattle traders, threaten them accusing them of smuggling cows and then buy cows at lower rates to sell them at higher rates in Haryana. So far, we have not found any evidence of Rajesh Kumar being a member of any cow protection unit.
We are still in the process of verifying his background.”

“Kamal Kishore bought two cows for Rs 50,000 each and Rajesh wanted to buy both the cows for Rs 25,000 each so he pretended to be a gau rakshak”, SI Harvinder Singh added.

Meanwhile, in the case of Satish Kumar, a large number of his supporters gathered at his office in a local gaushala in Rajpura Tuesday.

They threatened to launch a massive protest if he was arrested. Satish Kumar, however, was not present at the spot. His supporters claimed that he was “out of station for some personal work.”

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