Monday, May 03, 2010

Leopard skin scam key accused to take lie detector test

Leopard skin scam key accused to take lie detector test
The Times of India By Pramod Panwar
Print Edition

The forest department of Sabarkantha has decided to put the key accused in the leopard skin trade scam Babu Modiya and his brother-in-law Soma Kotad under the polygraph (lie detector test) to recover the carcass, nails, whiskers of the leopard, which these men had killed and skinned it. The accused were trying to sell off the skin when the scam was busted on March 31 during a sting operation by forest department.

After the arrest of Modiya, the key conspirator; on April 15, Kotad was arrested on April 28 from Mohanpur village near Durgapur in Rajasthan. Primary investigation revealed that 10 months ago Modiya and his two accomplices including Kotad killed the leopard near the valley of flowers on th Rajasthan border; they sold off its nails and buried the remains of its body ear Nalva village in Rajasthan.

"We have not be able to extract any further useful information from the duo. Even after taking Modiya and Kotad to different spots in the forest, we could not get them to divulge any useful information regarding the body parts of the dead leopard or any previous killings of wildlife that they may have made," admitted assistant conservator of forests Sabarkantha RM Desai.

"Both Modiya and Kotad are misleading investigators. They have not led them to the exact place where they buried the carcass of the big cat 10 months ago. We are left with no other alternative but to put both the accused through a lie detection test," Desai said.

"Our counterparts in Rajasthan suspect the duo's involvement in previous poaching cases within their jurisdiction. We are trying to increase their remand period for the lie detection test," he added

In the first ever sting operation carried out by the forest department, an old leopard skin was recovers on March 31 night. In a joint operation of Intelligence Bureau officials and the forest department, four members of a gang, which was into animal skin trade, were arrested.

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