Friday, February 27, 2009

16 poachers get 5-yr jail for killing Gir lions

16 poachers get 5-yr jail for killing Gir lions
Times of India _for_killing _Gir _lions/articleshow/4198248.cms

AHMEDADAD: In a landmark judgment in any wildlife poaching case in the country, a tribal gang of 16 from Katni in Madhya Pradesh was sentenced to five years' rigorous imprisonment for killing Asiatic lions of Gir by a Bhavnagar court.

Chief metropolitan magistrate, Bhavnagar, pronounced the case as a criminal conspiracy punishable under the Indian Penal Code besides the Wildlife Protection Act on Thursday. Prabhakar Keshav Gajakosh, the main accused and the rest, who are already in jail in an earlier Gir lion poaching case under wildlife laws, will now concurrently serve both the sentences with a fine of Rs 2,000. This is the highest term in any poaching incident across the country.

Carcasses of two lions were found buried in a private farm in Bhanderiya village of Jesar taluka, Bhavnagar district, with bones and claws missing, leading to suspicions of a poaching gang operating in Gir. Before that, five lions had been killed under mysterious circumstances in Gir forest in Junagadh. The accused who belong to Beliya tribe of MP were nabbed with spears and traps.

Chief metropolitan magistrate AI Shaikh convicted the accused under Section 429 (mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc., of any value or any animal of the value of Rs 50) and 120 (B) (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) of IPC besides wildlife protection laws.

The court also directed the jail authorities to take care of the 15 children who were with the 16 accused. The court directed the authorities to take care of the upbringing of the children and also their education and report it back to the court.

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