|Tiger Poacher Brought Back From Dead
WPSI – 9 November 2012
tigress Sita was the star attraction at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve for
many years. She featured in a number of films and books and appeared on
the cover of National Geographic Magazine in December 1997. She was
said to be the most photographed tiger in the world. With her mate
Charger, Sita added a sizable number of tigers to the park. In fact
many of Bandhavgarh's current tigers are her descendants. Sita
was seen on the last day of the tourist season, 30th June 1998, and
then briefly by a forest officer on 20th August. But when the park
opened again after the monsoon, in October 1998, she had vanished.
Exhaustive searches by the Forest Department turned up nothing and her
disappearance caused a furore.
A year later, acting on a tip
off, the Manpur police seized a tiger skin and 130 pieces of tiger bone
and eventually four men were arrested by the police; 1) Ram Milan Sahu
alias Millu, 2) Raghavendra Singh alias Jhallu, 3) Shringar Singh
Baheliya, and 4) Kailash Baheliya. The four accused tiger poachers
confessed that they had killed Sita after trapping her in a steel trap
near Salaidha tiraha in Gohadi area at the end of the monsoon season of
1998. Investigations were completed and a case was lodged in 2000 in
the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Umaria.
defense lawyers produced a death certificate for Kailash Baheliya given
by the head of Pathari-khurd village in Umaria District. On the basis
of that Kailash was discharged from the case, and in 2005 the case
ended in a conviction of three years rigorous imprisonment and a fine
of Rs. 10,000 for each the three other accused. Their appeal in the
Umaria court was dismissed in 2008 and they later appealed their
conviction in the Jabalpur High Court, where the matter is still
For the past nine years, WPSI's informers reported from
time to time that Kailash was in fact still alive and that he was
moving around killing wild pigs. It was even said that he was visiting
Umaria frequently. But considering the complex legalities no
enforcement agency was willing to touch him; on record he was dead, and
the case was sub-judice.
Finally, Kailash Baheliya's luck ran
out. On 15th September this year, he was picked up by the Chhattisgarh
police for illegal possession of gunpowder, and released on a personal
bond. He gave a fake name, KalyanSingh, which he had been living under
for nearly a decade. The ever-alert WPSI informers zeroed in on the
information and informed us. In turn, we quickly contacted the police
in Chhattisgarh, and helped established his identity with witnesses and
identification reports from the 1999 Sita tigress poaching case. When
the accused was fingerprinted it was found that he had damaged his left
thumb to try and obliterate the identification lines. Even so, his
thumb impression still matched the old records.
application by the Manpur police the Jabalpur High Court finally
provided all the relevant documents. On the basis of this the Chief
Judicial Magistrate of Umaria rejected his bail application on 23
October, and issued a production warrant on 1 November 2012.
Kailash Baheliya is now finally behind bars in Madhya Pradesh and will face trial for the killing of Sita.
field personnel recently dug out yet another case pending against this
poacher and have alerted the authorites. Kailash was arrested at
Chandiya in 1999 for killing a wild boar and 25 gm wild boar hair were
seized from him. The case, dating back to February 2000, has been
pending all these years in the same court where the Sita tigress
poaching case was tried. The accused never appeared in the trial.
has finally caught up with Kailash Baheliya. He will now face a trial,
not just for killing the famous tigress Sita or the wild pig, but also
for making a mockery of the law by faking his own death.