'Cattle smuggling racket boss' suspected COVID case; CBI tells him to appear before it on Nov 24

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(Eds: Recasting headline, intro) Kolkata, Nov 9 (PTI) The alleged kingpin of a cattle smuggling racket operating at the India-Bangladesh border, Enamul Haque, on Monday appeared before the CBI here and claimed he is a suspected COVID-19 case, following which the agency asked him to visit its officials on November 24, an official said.

The CBI has arrested Haque in New Delhi on Friday.

However, he got interim bail from a court there, which asked him to appear before the agency in Kolkata on Monday by noon.

Haque arrived at an office of the investigating agency in the city shortly after 11 am, and the CBI has informed the New Delhi court of this.

'But he said he is a suspected COVID case and has undergone the test but the report is yet to come. He sought 14 days from us to be in home isolation. He has been asked to appear again on November 24,' a CBI source said.

The source said the accused would be under close watch for the next two weeks.

Haque told reporters outside the CBI office that he is a suspected COVID positive patient, but he is yet to get his test report.

'I was asked (by the court) to appear before the CBI by noon, so I had to come. I had sought 14 days from the CBI to be in isolation as per the COVID protocol. I have been told to appear on November 24,' he said.

Last week, the CBI had searched the premises of two chartered accountants in Kolkata in connection with the case, they said.

It is alleged that cattle smugglers were bribing BSF and customs officials to keep their illegal business running.

The CBI has booked a former Commandant of the 36 BSF Battalion over cattle-smuggling on the India-Bangladesh border.

Haque was earlier arrested in March 2018 by the CBI for allegedly bribing another BSF Commandant, Jibu T Mathew, who was held at the Alappuzha railway station in Kerala in January 2018 with Rs 47 lakh cash. Haque is out on bail in that case. PTI dc PNT NN NN NN NN