Four poach­ers ar­rested with leop­ard skin, nails worth ` 8L

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT NAVI MUMBAI - Shashikant Kothekar shashikant.kothekar@hin­dus­tan­

Four sus­pected poach­ers were ar­rested from Dom­bivli and leop­ard skin and nails worth Rs7.73 lakh seized from them on Mon­day.

The Thane crime branch of f i cers said t he ar rested men are f rom Pali vil­lage, 90 kms from Mum­bai, in the neigh­bor­ing Raigad district.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day, deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice (crime) Parag Manere said they ar­rested the men af­ter get­ting a tip-off that the poach­ers were com­ing to a place near Dom­bivli rail­way po­lice sta­tion.

The team of crime branch of­fi­cers led by se­nior po­lice in­spec­tor Shailen­dra Nagarkar kept a vigil at the spot and ar­rested the four.

The cost of the leop­ard skin was Rs7 lakh, he said.

The po­lice said t hat t he poach­ers had poi­soned the fiveyear-old leop­ard and killed it.

“Af­ter hunt­ing an an­i­mal, the leop­ard did not fin­ish its food. The poach­ers had kept vigil on the leop­ard’s move­ment and they poi­soned food.

The leop­ard re­turned to eat the rest of the car­cass and died af­ter eat­ing it,” said a for­est of­fi­cer.

The ar­rested per­sons were iden­ti­fied as Sandip Sharma, 36, Ma­hadev Var­gade, 67, Dehu Ham­ber, 42, and Aakash Fage, 22, all res­i­dents of Raigad district ad­join­ing Mum­bai.

Po­lice of­fi­cers show the seized leop­ard skin in Thane on Wed­nes­day.

Manere said the ac­cused had al­legedly killed the leop­ard and were look­ing for po­ten­tial cus­tomers to sell its hide and nails.

The four have been booked un­der sec­tions 9,39,48(a),48(A), 49(B),50 and 51 of Pro­tec­tion of Wildlife Rules, 1972.

The po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing if more peo­ple were in­volved in the crime.

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