Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Govt employee among leopard skin traders

Govt employee among leopard skin traders
Times of India

One of the four persons, arrested with a leopard skin last week, is a government employee, who had been on leave for the past one year.

Deepak Parmar is an employee at the office of the district education officer, Nadiad and forest officials are now investigating into reasons for his year-long leave and whether he could be involved in other wildlife crimes.

However, according to the officials, Sabarkantha is fast turning into a hotbed of wildlife crimes. Apart from the recovery of this leopard skin, forest officials recently found claws of a leopard, who had died of starvation, missing.

Deputy conservator of forest, MJ Parmar, who is investigating the case, says in the case a leopard skin was recovered after a sting operation it was revealed that the skin was likely of a 2-3 years old cub. The skin was one year old and did not belong to the royal family, he added.

The foresters had earlier expressed apprehension that this could be the skin which has been reportedly stolen from the royal place of Harshvardhan Sinhji Rathore, the royal family of Vijaynagar. A police complaint in this regard was also filed by the royal family.

Deepak was part of the team that had come for trading the skin and was given this skin by one Babu Modia, who is the main accused. Teams have been sent to Rajasthan and parts of Sabarkantha district to nab Modia. Once he is arrested, the role of all the accused would be ascertained.

Meanwhile, in another important development, the department revealed that the carcass of a leopard, which had died of starvation in Aud forest near Shamlaji, also did not have claws. Chief conservator crime cell, Gandhingar, DK Sharma, who was at the spot said, "The big cat had died a natural death, but since the body lay there for a long time, it appears as though someone had pulled out the nails."

Officials said that there is a possibility of a gang operating in the area which is involved in wildlife crimes.

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