A Bajrang Dal leader was among four men arrested on Wednesday in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district for allegedly slaughtering cows to implicate a Muslim man in a false case, reported The Indian Express.

According to the police, one of the arrested men, identified as Shahabuddin, took the help of Bajrang Dal leader Monu Bishnoi, and his aides Raman Chaudhary and Rajiv Chaudhary to execute the crime. Bishnoi is the Moradabad district president of the Hindutva group.

The first incident occurred on January 16 when the head of a cow was found at Kanwar Path, a road that is mostly used by Hindu pilgrims who visit Haridwar annually to fetch water from the Ganga.

The police had then lodged a first information report against unidentified persons under Uttar Pradesh’s law against cow slaughter.

The case seemed suspicious as the person who reported the incident to the police said that he had not spotted the head of the cow ten minutes before he passed the area, Moradabad Senior Superintendent of Police Hemraj Meena said at a press conference on Thursday.

The second incident was reported on January 29, when the police received information of a cow being slaughtered in the forest area of the Chetrampur village. “This time, a track pant was found from the spot which was lying next to the cow carcasses,” Meena said. “It had some cash in the pockets, along with a phone number of one Mehmood written in a diary, and his picture too. Police searched Mehmood and interrogated him.”

The police said Mehmood, on being interrogated, said he had an enmity with some people from his village. “He also took names of Shahabuddin and Jamshed and alleged that they took the help of Bishnoi, Rajiv Chaudhary and Raman Chaudhary to send him to jail,” the senior superintendent of police said.

The three have been booked for criminal cases in the past as well, Meena added.

Bishnoi, along with Rajiv and Raman Chaudhary had also allegedly executed a similar crime on January 14 as a set up to pressurise the police. They had paid Rs 2,000 to a man identified as Naeem, an associate of Shahabuddin, and told him to bring the head of a cow from somewhere and keep it in Chhajlait police station area, Meena said.

“It was planned that they [Bajrang Dal members] would protest against police for failing to control crime in the first case, on January 16, but things did not go as per their plan,” Meena said. “Hence, the second cow was killed for the purpose.”

Given the suspicious nature of the two crimes, the police formed an investigation team and obtained the call details of Shahbuddin, along with his mobile phone’s locations. After interrogation, he confessed how he had sought the Bajrang Dal leader’s help to frame Mehmood.

The police have booked the four men under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 211 (false charge of offence made with intent to injure), 380 (theft in dwelling house), 457 (house-trespass or house-breaking) and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the Indian Penal Code. They have also been booked under the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act.