NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the recent increase in incidents of crime along the India-Bangladesh border. A recent incident left several Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers injured.

Sources in the BSF confirmed to The Sunday Guardian that they received an official intimation from the CBI on Thursday, stating that the agency had started its investigation into the matter. The CBI has also sought cooperation from the BSF to arrest these criminals.

The CBI has already started gathering information on smugglers and their activities along the India-Bangladesh border areas and according to sources in the CBI, the agency has been able to pick up some smugglers from areas like Basirhat, Bongaon, Murshidabad, Nadia, Behrampore, among other areas.

Kingpins like Barik Biswas, who is involved in the smuggling of cows and gold to Bangladesh from the North 24 Parganas area, has also come on the CBI radar. Other names like Goutam, Shanur Mondal, Khadeem Gazi, Saiful Molla (DK), Robiul, alias Huso, involved in cow smuggling are also on the CBI radar.

As per the investigation being carried out by the CBI, several local politicians, police personnel and villagers and locals are involved in these activities and, according to them, most of these crimes have been happening with the connivance of the local police and local politicians.

This move comes after several BSF personnel were recently injured in successive incidents when trying to foil smuggling bids by smugglers. Incidents of BSF personnel being injured after engaging in fierce gun battles with smugglers have been reported from Behrampore and Murshidabad. Recently, a BSF jawan lost his hands after smugglers used country-made bombs to attack BSF posts in Dwarpara area of West Bengal.

“In the Behrampore sector, the BSF recently recovered 84 country-made bombs and at least 30 pistols. These are being used by smugglers to attack BSF personnel, and, according to our information, these bombs are also smuggled in and out of Bangladesh and India on a regular basis,” a source in the BSF said.

The CBI has also been tasked with investigating the recent spurt of attacks on BSF personnel by illegal smugglers who have been attacking the BSF on duty using country-made bombs and pistols in order to carry out their smuggling activities.

A source in the CBI from West Bengal told this correspondent, “We have started our investigation into the recent increase in border crimes. We have information about how bombs are being made in the border areas and the use of country-made pistols is also on the rise. These bombs come in also from Bangladesh. Pistols are smuggled in and these are easily available in the border districts. The CBI has received some names who are involved in such activities. We are tracking them and monitoring their activities.”

BSF officials from West Bengal also say that the use of country-made bombs has increased in the border areas and that smugglers are using these to threaten BSF officials against disrupting their businesses.

According to the BSF, the smuggling of Phensedyl and Yaba tablets has seen a rise recently along the India-Bangladesh border. Phensedyl is a cough syrup used as a drug among youths in Bangladesh and it fetches a huge price for Indian smugglers; Yaba tablets are a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine, mostly used as party drugs and are in demand in Bangladesh.

This year till 29 October, the BSF seized 157,613 Phensedyl bottles from smugglers and more than 49,955 Yaba tablets while these were being smuggled into Bangladesh.

BSF officers say that since cattle smuggling has gone down and BSF has been instrumental in reducing cattle smuggling and arresting cattle smugglers, the criminals have started increasing smuggling of these drugs to Bangladesh. However, more than 27,000 cattle have been seized by the BSF until October this year.