At least three of the men booked for the murder of two Muslim men whose bodies were found in Haryana are police informers, reported The Indian Express on Tuesday.

Police records seen by the newspaper show that Rinku Saini, Lokesh Singla and Shrikant are described as informers in at least four first information reports lodged in the last two months in the Ferozepur Jhirka and Nagina police stations in Haryana’s Nuh district.

These three are among the five persons initially booked for allegedly killing Nasir and Junaid, whose charred bodies were found in a car in Haryana’s Bhiwani district on February 16 after they were allegedly abducted by cow vigilantes. Of these, only Saini has been arrested so far.

On Monday, the Rajasthan police added the names of eight more persons to the FIR.

The most recent FIR seen by the newspaper was filed on February 14, just hours before Nasir and Junaid were suspected to have been abducted.

The FIR states that a police team, stationed near Nuh’s Agon village, was informed by “secret informer and cow protector Rinku [Saini]” that five men involved in cattle smuggling would be travelling towards Rajasthan in a pick-up truck to slaughter cattle, and can be arrested.

The FIR, registered on the complaint of assistant sub inspector Jamshed, said that barricading was done and on Rinku’s signal, a pick-up truck was flagged down, according to The Indian Express.

“Seeing the police, the pick-up truck tried to reverse but could not do so due to the traffic,” it said. “The driver and his four associates jumped out of the truck’s windows and... managed to escape,”

In another FIR also registered at the Ferozepur Jhirka station on January 23, Rinku is identified as “a mukhbir khaas [secret informer] and a member of gau raksha dal [cow protection group] ”.

The FIR states that a police raid was conducted near Khera village based on Rinku’s tip-off that five men involved in cattle smuggling will pass through the area in a pick-up truck and head to Rajasthan for cattle slaughter. The FIR states that one person was arrested and three managed to escape, the newspaper reported.

Another FIR at the same station on January 19 was based on a tip-off from Singla, who was identified as a member of a cow protection group. Based on his tip-off, a raid was conducted in Ghatmika village – the same village where Nasir and Junaid hail from.

On January 1, an FIR was lodged at the Nagina police station based on a tip-off by Shrikant and another case was filed at the Ferozepur Jhirka station on a tip-off from Rinku, according to The Indian Express.

The Crime Investigation Agency at the Ferozepur Jhirka station is now being investigated after Rinku told Rajasthan Police that the cow vigilantes had taken the two men there on suspicion of cattle smuggling but the police did not take them into custody.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Satish Kumar said that Saini, Singla and Shrikant have often passed tips about suspected cattle smugglers to the authorities. “Their role is limited to passing information to the police,” he said. “On some occasions, they have accompanied the police as witnesses.”

Nuh Superintendent of Police Varun Singla also confirmed the involvement of the accused men, adding that their association is only limited to actionable intelligence.

“In certain cases, if they are willing to be independent witnesses, they can accompany the police,” he said. “There is a provision in law that police have to gather independent witnesses who can verify and vet information.”

Singla, however, denied that the accused men are affiliated with the government.