In one of the first cases of conviction in recently amended cow slaughter law in Gujarat, a court in Rajkot's Dhoraji convicted a man for killing a two years old calf, cooking its meat for biryani and serving it to the guests at his daughter's wedding. The court, while noting that convict is poor who didn't have money to feed guests, sentenced him to ten years simple imprisonment and fined Rs1 lakh.
"The allegation proved against this accused is that he stole a two-year-old calf of the complainant and slaughtered it. Killing a cow's progeny hurts religious sentiments of a particular community and cows cause good impact on environment. Keeping in mind all these reasons, the government has brought stringent law against cow slaughter," additional sessions judge H A Dave noted in the order pronounced on Saturday.
The judge found Salim Kadar Makrani, a resident of Rasulpura, Upleta road, Dhoraji, guilty of stealing and slaughtering the calf under section Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2017 among other charges and sentenced him for ten years. He has also been slapped a fine of Rs1 lakh. The FIR had been lodged by Satar Adam Koliya at Dhoraji police station in January this year.
Koliya, who works as a driver in SBI bank, had told the police that his wife Zubaida had tied a cow and two years old calf in the backyard. Minutes later, the calf was found missing. Later, they found remains of the calf near a cemetery in the village. According to Koliya, after some inquiry he found that a marriage ceremony was being performed in the house of Salim Makrani, who lived in the neighbourhood.
Makrani initially denied that he had any role in the missing calf but after Koliya lodged the FIR, Makrani allegedly admitted that he had stolen the calf for feeding the guests at his daughter's wedding and requested to withdraw the complaint.
Following the FIR, the remains of the calf were examined by forensic experts and sample of half kg biryani was also seized from the house of accused Makrani. During the trial, the experts deposed that remains were found to be of a calf but blood couldn't be matched with the meat recovered in Biryani since it was already cooked and the antigens were destroyed. Therefore, it couldn't be established that the meat was from the same missing calf. The court has ignored this aspect and also didn't consider defence argument that police couldn't establish stealing and how the calf was killed.
The court has heavily relied on prosecution theory that the accused didn't have enough money to feed his guests and therefore he stole the calf. The court said that it is true that there is no direct evidence against the accused but circumstantial evidence establishes chain of events implicating the accused. The court concluded that a calf was a stolen, its remains were found and biryani was cooked at the accused house for guests and accused admitted to complainant of stealing the calf and offered compromise. Thus, according to the court, the prosecution succeeded in establishing the chain of events.
The order states that the accused denied stealing the calf but he never denied that there was no marriage at his house and that he didn't serve biryani to guests. The court refused to grant mercy to the accused in view of his senior citizen parents and has three children to look after. The order stated that the accused should have thought about it before committing the offence.