TWO CONSTABLES of Meerut Police went missing on Friday night soon after FIRs were lodged against them for alleged extortion related to a cow smuggling racket in the state.
The two police constables, Rahul and Sandeep Nagar, were part of an alleged cow vigilante group, which was extorting money from vehicles carrying cattle for the past four years.
The racket is believed to have been operational in Meerut, Ghaziabad, Muzzafarnagar and adjoining districts.
It was organised at a time Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath put a blanket ban on cow smuggling in the state and launched a drive against illegal abattoirs after he came to power in 2017.
The FIR — filed on Friday — was lodged against nine people, including the two cops, at Meerut’s TP Nagar police station. Five of the accused have been arrested while four, including a right wing leader, are on the run. Raids are on to nab them, police said.
Meerut SSP Prabhaar Chaudhary’s special cell got inputs about an extortion racket on Dehli-Dehradun Highway following which he formed a team headed by SP(Rural) Keshav Prasad, which caught five members on Friday. “The gang was netting extortion money to the tune of Rs two lakh daily from vehicles carrying cattle from the animal market for their milk dairies or for personal use. Each truck had to cough up a minimum of Rs 2,000 to ensure a safe passage,” said an officer of the special team.
The FIR is part of the police drive to weed out corruption from the force. There are currently four UP cops, including President’s Gallantry Award recipient Bijendra Pal Rana, who are believed to be absconding after police action was initiated. The drive has seen 75 constables being sent to police lines as punishment since July and 53 others, including inspectors, moved out of their police stations. “The extortion racket busted by the special team on Friday night is a major success and the drive against corruption within the system will continue,” the SSP said.