Sunday, April 04, 2010

MASTERMIND ON THE RUN Leopard skin trade: Cops to go to Udaipur

Leopard skin trade: Cops to go to Udaipur

Times of India

Babu Savaji Modiya, the mastermind of the gang trading in wildlife skin in Vijaynagar in Sabarkantha district, who is on the run after four of his cronies were arrested on Wednesday, is believed to have fled to Rajasthan.

Chief Conservator Crime Cell (CCCC), Gandhingar, DK Sharma, who convened a meeting of foresters to discuss further course of action in Vijayanagar on Saturday told TOI, "Our team has taken the episode seriously. We will spare no efforts in nabbing all involved, including Modiya. We are in contact with our counterparts in Udaipur, where Modiya is believed to be hiding."

Four persons, Lakshman Patel of Ahmedabad, Prakash Patel, driver with the forest department in Vijayanagar, Shyamji Patel, land broker from Amreli and Deepak Parmar, clerk with district education office in Nadiad, were arrested while selling the skin of a leopard in a trap laid by the forest department on Wednesday night. "Unless the prime accused is rounded up it is difficult to say much on the modus operandi of the gang," Sharma said. "However, at present it appears to be an interstate operation. There is no evidence yet of international gang involvement," he said.

Meanwhile, in another important development, the department revealed on Saturday that the carcass of a leopard, which had died of starvation in Aud forest near Shamlaji, also did not have nails. Sharma 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."

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