Chandigarh, May 4 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal have justified the import of livestock from Pakistan worth over Rs.16.71 lakh saying it was their own use, a state government spokesman said here Saturday.
He said that the livestock had been imported by the Badals in their "personal capacity" after obtaining all the necessary licences and permission "for breeding purposes for upgradation of indigenous breed at their own farms".
"Parkash Singh Badal paid Rs.16,71,982 from his personal account towards the price of the cattle, the import license fee and customs duty after following the prescribed procedure under the provisions of foreign trade," the spokesman said.
"Badal remitted $24,522 (Rs.13,48,750) from his personal account vide cheque drawn on State Bank of India, IBD, Semi Branch, Sector 17-B, Chandigarh on April 23, 2013 in the favour of secretary, livestock and dairy development, government of Punjab, Pakistan towards the actual price of the cattle," the spokesman said.
The rest of the amount (Rs 3.2 lakh) was towards custom clearance duty.
The import of the livestock, which arrived Friday (May 3), happened when Punjab was going through anger and agony over the killing of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh in Pakistan. Sarabjit was cremated as a martyr with full state honours Friday.
The spokesman said: "The entire procedure for importing cattle from Pakistan almost took eight months and it is now just a matter of coincidence that these cattle landed at Wagah on the fateful day (May 3)."
"The cattle imported from Pakistan included three Sahiwal cows, one Sahiwal bull, three Nili Ravi Buffaloes, one Nili Ravi bull, three sheep (Balthi breed) and one Ram (Balthi breed) as these were only available in Pakistan as indigenous breeds. These cattle were received by the competent authority i.e. quarantine officer from GoI and have been transferred to Kapashera Centre, New Delhi, where these will be kept for one month for quarantine," he said.