Kolkata: Asserting that the BSF has zero-tolerance towards corruption, the paramilitary force on Thursday said that it has completed court-martial proceedings in 28 cases in the last two years and 14 other cases are pending before the court of inquiry.
BSF (ADG) Eastern Command, Y B Khurania, while addressing a press conference here, said that action has been taken against some of its personnel for their alleged involvement in cross-border illegal activities, including cow smuggling and the force has an internal mechanism in place to keep a check on unlawful activities of any kind.
“It is because of the zero-tolerance towards corruption that we have seen better days in the last few years… there has been a decline in trans-border crimes. It is because this message has gone out loud and clear that connivance (with miscreants) will not be tolerated,” he said.
The senior official was replying to a question on the arrest of BSF commandant Satish Kumar by the CBI for his alleged connection with a cattle smuggling racket operating at the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal.
“In the last two years, we have completed 28 court-martial proceedings under General Security Force Court (GSFC) and 14 other cases are pending. In 2021 alone, we have completed 24 cases, this is the highest ever in Eastern Command. Most of these cases range from connivance, corruption and indiscipline,” he said.
Referring to Petty Security Force Court (PSFC), which deals with less serious offences, he said total of five cases have been completed in the last two years.
“The Border Security Force (BSF) has given substantial powers to its commanders at all levels to take requisite action (against erring personnel) Also, wherever required, investigation is being carried out by other agencies,” Khurania said.
Lauding the BSF jawans over their border manning job, Khurania said the force has “dealt firmly with the aberrations”.
“Under the BSF Act, there are provisions to take action and the same has been done in many cases. Several court-martial proceedings are underway. In some cases, the procedure has been completed, and in some other, inquiry is going on,” he said.
Reacting to claims that action has been initiated by the BSF in some cases only after the CBI took cognisance of the matter, Khurania said that many instances suggest that the reverse is also true.
He said the force has dedicated units to undertake surveillance on officers if allegations of corruption are levelled against them.
When asked whether the border guarding force has faced any problems regarding cooperation from the local administration, after the extension of its jurisdiction, he replied in negative.
“So far we have not faced any problem. We have received all cooperation from the local administration and other law enforcement agencies. We have a mechanism in place to discuss all the issues, and this is a continuous process,” he said.
The central government last year amended the BSF Act to authorise the force to undertake search, seize and arrest within 50 km from the border, instead of the earlier limit of 15 km, in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.
The West Bengal assembly had in November last year passed a resolution against the Centre’s decision to extend BSF’s jurisdiction, dubbing the step as an “attack” on the country’s federal structure as law and order is a state subject, becoming the second state after Punjab to do so.
Khurania said 15 anti-trafficking units have been set up in the Eastern Command area to curb human trafficking across the India-Bangladesh border.