Ahmedabad: Nineteen persons accused in the lion poaching case on Thursday withdrew their bail petition from Gujarat High Court, when the court did not entertain their petition on Thursday. The 19 included the poaching kingpin Sarkash Lal. Justice S R Brahmbhatt granted the accused leave to withdraw their bail pleas after hearing their counsel as well as the state government.
Arrested in April last year, these accused had moved the HC in August after a lower court in Junagadh refused to grant them bail. They claimed that no evidence was found against them and they were falsely implicated in the lion poaching incident. They claimed that they were workers from Madhya Pradesh and had no offences registered against them in the past. But the state government countered their argument and placed available evidence before the court.
Appearing for the forest department, advocate Pitamber Abhichandani argued that in such a crime, no direct evidence can be made available because the action had taken place in forest area. However, these accused were arrested from the region where entry is restricted. Moreover, prosecution claimed that these people were found in possession of lion claws, nails and meat pieces.
Inter-state link busted?
CID (Crime), which is investigating lion poaching cases, got custody of another accused from Karnataka after obtaining a transfer warrant. Prabhakar Keshav Gaja was nabbed from Uttar Kannada district of Karnataka and the investigating agency suspected a link between him and the 19 accused. Prabhakar was produced before a Junagadh court and CID sought his remand claiming that he had links with some of the accused. Prabhakar was found in possession of skins of one tiger, 21 leopards as well as 43 sea-oysters’ skins worth Rs 21.5 lakh. The court remanded him to police custody till January 15, sources said.