Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Court rejects bail plea of five accused of electrocuting lion

Court rejects bail plea of five accused of electrocuting lion
The Indian Express

A local court in Juangadh rejected bail application of five farmers arrested in connection with alleged electrocution of an Asiatic lion last week even as Bharatiya Kisan Sangh lodged protest with the district collector in this regard on Monday.
A magisterial court in Visavadar taluka of Junagadh district refused bail to the five farmers — Jaman Dobria, Vallabh Dobaria, Balu Dobaria, Ratial Dobaria and Jenti Dobaria. All the five are residents of Moti Monpari village of Visavadar taluka and were arrested by the forest department after the body of a lion was found stuck in a pipeline of a causeway near the village on August 6.

"The court refused them bail saying the investigation is on," said Kasuladev Ramesh, Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) of Gir West division.

Forest officers have booked the five for killing the lion. According to them, the big cat was electrocuted on the farm of Vallabh who had set a live electric wire round his farm to keep wild animals from damaging crop.

The electricity was supplied by Jaman. After they found the lion dead, Balu, Ratilal and Jenti helped the duo dump the body in the stream and made it look like an accident, the officers say. The five accused are cousins.

"We have noticed pug marks of lions on Vallabh's farm. This means the farm was frequented by the big cats but he did not remove the wire," the DCF said.

Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL) had snapped Jaman's agricultural power connection after forest department booked him for the lion's death.

Meanwhile, forest officers arrested one more person, identified as Chhaganbahi, on Sunday in this connection and secured his remand till August 14. Officers say that the live wire in Vallabh's farm passed through the field of Chhaganbhai. The officers have also arrested one Mavji Patodia after a Nilgai was allegedly electrocuted on his farm and got his remand for two days on Monday.

The BKS submitted a memorandum to the DC of Junagadh and demanded immediate release of Patodia and restoration of power supply to Jaman.

"Being an animal of national importance, lion should be protected at all cost. But the arrest in connection with the death of Nilgai is unjustified as there is no evidence against the arrested person. If he is not released immediately, we will sit on a dharna in front of the office of the Junagadh wildlife circle office," Uka Patodia, president of Junagadh district unit of BKS said.

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