Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lion poaching: Kingpin set free

Lion poaching: Kingpin set free
Times of India By Saeed Khan

The kingpin in lion poaching cases, Sarkaslal Saharesingh Parghi stood a free man a week ago, as the Gujarat High Court ordered to consider his two separate jail terms concurrently. He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment twice in two different cases in 2008, thus a six-year jail.

But with the high court's decision of treating his sentence concurrently, Parghi got only three years' term, which ended earlier this m o n t h . Parghi and 19 others from Madhya Pradesh were nabbed in April 2007, after six lions were found killed in the Gir National Park and two in Bhavnagar.

They were booked under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act and the IPC in the Babaria range police station. They did not accept charges, and were tried by a magisterial court in Junagadh. After examining 34 witnesses and relying upon 71 documentary evidences, the JMFC convicted Parghi in two cases awarding him simple imprisonment of three years and fine of Rs 10,000 in each of the cases. Parghi challenged his conviction before a sessions judge, but his appeal was declined in 2009. Then he approached the high court against his conviction as well as the lower court's order to serve two separate jail terms. Justice MD Shah heard his case, wherein his counsel AM Parekh did not press the appeal on merit but contended that the lower court did not order to run all the s e n t e n c e s concurrently. The high court also noticed that the lower court had not properly worded the punishment order, and modified the order holding that the sentences would run concurrently.

The court also noticed that Parghi had stayed in jail for more than three years, and he was entitled to get benefit of set off as per Section 248 of the CrPC. With this order, Parghi who was on bail already, was a free man last week.

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