Tough time for CID in poaching cases
Ahmedabad Newline By: Sibte Hussain Bukhari
Junagadh, June 17: AFTER arresting 19 tribals in connection with poaching of lions in Gir, CID (crime) is facing a tough task in ensuring that 18 of those held are not granted bail.
The CID has still not found any incriminating evidence against those held. Moreover, all 18, expect the kingpin Sarkaslal, have given ficticious names and addresses which means once they get bail, the CID would not be able to trace them.
Keeping this in mind, the CID has filed an affidavit before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (first class) in Una, requesting it to reject their bail applications.
According to the CID, the tribals initially claimed that they belonged to Katni district in Madhya Pradesh. However, when their statements were recorded, they gave addresses of two Madhya Pradesh villages — Mahuva-Kheda (Pavai taluka, Panna district) and Bediyaun (Chhanera taluka, Khandva district).
But when a CID team went their for verification, they found no such names and addresses. In 2004, a similar gang of tribals deceived the police and forest department. Seven members of a tribal gang — who claimed to be from Katni district in Madhya Prades — were nabbed with leopard skins, bones and feathers of some rare birds and later released on bail only to be never found again.
The tribals, six women and a man, were arrested from Plaswa village on May 17, 2004 and released on bail on March 1, 2005.
However, when arrest warrants were issued, the police found that the names and addresses of the gang members and the persons who stood surety for bail were all fake. A forest department team, which went to Katni district, returned empty-handed. The case has made no progress in the Junagadh court till now.
Sarkaslal was arrested on April 30, while his gang members were held earlier. The accused have been in judicial custody since then and had moved a bail application recently, which came up for hearing on June 10. The CID submitted the affidavit during the hearing. Since his arrest, Sarkaslal has been denying his involvement in the case.
According to the CID affidavit, the accused had admitted they used lethal weapons and poison to kill lions. Poached claws, bones and other organs of the lions are yet to be recovered and forensic tests on the accused, including lie-detection and brain-mapping tests, are still to be conducted, it stated. The agency also stated its suspicion that an international network of poachers was operating behind the scenes in the case.
Hence, considering all issues, bail should not be granted to any of the accused at this stage of investigation, the affidavit said.