Seven buffalo stolen from powerful Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan's home, which had scores of policemen on their toes over the weekend, have been found. The police on Sunday traced the buffalo. This, however, could not save three local policemen who were on night patrol when the incident took place. They were stripped of their posts for 'dereliction of duty' and sent back to the police lines. A harsher punishment is expected after a probe in days to come.
The buffalo were stolen from the minister's well-protected farmhouse late on Friday. The alleged robbers had cut open thick iron chains to take away the animals. Led by the Superintendent of Police, Sadhna Goswami, police officers across the district spread out in a massive buffalo hunt, combed fields
and took sniffer dogs along to track down the animals. To everyone's general relief, the buffalo were finally all found on Sunday, in different areas.
The stolen buffalo were recovered following a night-long operation where five police teams raided dozens of dairies, slaughter houses and meat factories in and around Rampur. Ten people have been detained in connection with the theft.
SP Rampur Sadhna Goswami, along with ASP Devesh Pandey and DSP Aley Hasan, headed separate teams that included officers from six police stations and investigators from the district police's crime cell as well.
The police went through hours of CCTV footage at the meat factories to verify the entry of livestock into the premises.
Three of the missing buffalo were traced in Ganj police circle, two each were traced to Swal and Shehzadnagar police circles of Rampur city.
By evening five were identified as ones that were stolen while officers were unsure about the remaining two. " Sources say the police are hoping that the minister will withdraw his case against the three punished officers.