A month after Allahabad HC pulled it up, Sitapur police close ‘cow slaughter’ case

At a hearing on May 17, the court had observed that provisions of the Act were wrongly invoked against 22-year-old Suraj, the applicant. The court gave the police two weeks to file a reply.

A month after the Allahabad High Court pulled up the Sitapur Police over a case registered under the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act in February, the police have submitted a final report in the matter in a local court and closed the case.

At a hearing on May 17, the court had observed that provisions of the Act were wrongly invoked against 22-year-old Suraj, the applicant. The court gave the police two weeks to file a reply. It also granted bail to Suraj, who had been booked under sections 3 and 8 of the Act on February 25 along with three others — Ibrahim, Aneesh and Shahzad. Suraj had been in jail since the registration of the case.

A police officer in Sitapur told The Indian Express Friday that after the High Court’s observations, a fresh probe found “no evidence against the accused”. As a result, the case was closed, and a final report was submitted to a local court.

“The final report was submitted in a local court after a direction came from the Allahabad High Court. In its order, the High Court raised some issues with the case, and subsequently, the case was closed and a final report was filed in a local court,” he added.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Rakesh Prakash Singh refused to comment on the case “as it was pending in court”.

During a hearing on Wednesday, the Additional Government Advocate (AGA) submitted he would file the report in compliance with the May 17 order within a day. The court granted Suraj’s counsel Dileep Kumar Yadav a week to respond to the AGA’s report. The case has been listed for hearing on June 24.

On February 25, the FIR against the four accused was registered based on a police complaint alleging that one of its teams had overheard a conversation between the accused about slaughtering three calves. According to the FIR, based on a tip, the police team had “carefully crept up to the aforesaid persons and had heard them talking with each other in the bushes that they had slaughtered three calves and have received huge amount of money and that now they were having two bulls in their possession and planned to slaughter them too”.

After perusing the FIR, the court said, “It clearly comes out that neither the bulls which were found in possession of the applicant had been slaughtered nor were maimed or had any physical injury”.

On May 17, the court said it would have “parted with the case” after granting bail but it “finds it in the interest of justice to direct the Superintendent of Police, Sitapur, to file his personal affidavit” regarding “the averments made in the bail application as well as indicating as to how the cognizance of Sections 3 and 8 of the Act, 1955 have been invoked against the applicant”.

The court also observed that the applicant was in jail for more than two-and-a-half months based on the sections invoked against him which “would prima facie not be attracted in the said incident”.

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