However, Verma dusted off the allegations stating that he had been seeking financial support for the shelter from the state government for the past two years but nothing worked out.
Speaking to the reporters, Verma said, "My cow shelter is overcrowded. There are more than 650 cows against the capacity of 220. I had intimated the government many a times that I am not able feed them, but all went in vain. More than Rs. 10 lakh meant for the cow shelter is pending with the government and they have not granted it till now. I am not guilty for the deaths".
Rajpur's Sarpanch Pati Sevaram Sahu alleged that he found many trenches were being dug to bury the dead cows lying around, which made them suspicious.
"We noticed J.
C. Bamford (JCB) machines operating near the cow shelter two days ago and informed media persons. When we reached here, we found that many trenches were being dug to bury the dead cows lying around. The cows buried near the shelter are yet to be exhumed," he said.
Further, Dhamda block sub-divisional magistrate Rajesh Patre, after visiting the cow shelter confirmed the deaths and said that the cows died either due to starvation or lack of proper care.
"A four-member team led by deputy director of animal husbandry was constituted to probe into the causes of death and the reports of post-mortem. We have done post mortem for the cows, reports are awaited but prima facie it seems proper care of the cows was not taken. The exact death figures are yet to ascertained and investigation was on".
"Villagers claimed that more than 200 cows died in last few days because of lack of fodder, which seems to be true. We will submit a detailed report to the district magistrate and action would be taken accordingly," he said.