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Two tiger poachers nabbed, confess to killing five tigers in Melghat

 
Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Jun 10, 2013, 02.06 AM IST

NAGPUR: The local crime branch (LCB) has nabbed two tiger poachers belonging to the notorious Baheliya community. The two, who were nabbed from Mansar, are part of a 30-member gang, which claims to have killed five tigers in the region over the last one month and sold tiger skins to a trader in North India.

The operation to nab the poachers was launched on May 30 based on a tip-off to Nagpur IG from New Delhi. Police nabbed the poachers on June 6 while they were finalizing a deal for a tiger skin.

On June 7, the duo were handed over to the forest department, which is further investigating the matter, after obtaining custody of the duo till June 12. The poachers have been taken to Melghat, where the gang reportedly killed the tigers.

Crime branch PI RM Pali, who took action under the guidance of rural SP MK Sharma, who is also chief of the district tiger cell, said the dreaded poachers have been identified as Badlu (18) and Chika (20), both hailing from Baheliya stronghold Katni. They are a part of a tiger poaching gang that supplies tiger parts and skins to international syndicates.

"The poachers have told us that their gang killed five tigers in Vidarbha region over the last one month, and sold the skins and bones eight days ago. We intercepted the gang on the basis of call details records (CDRs) and Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) inputs. We nabbed them while they were striking a deal for a skin. No skins have been seized from them as yet," said Pali.

Forest officials who did want to be quoted said the poachers also confessed to have killed a tiger in Mandla and Tumsar. Only a thorough probe would reveal from where the tigers were killed.

Pali said even as the deal was being settled, the poachers smelled a trap. Chika tried to run away by jumping from the four-wheeler. He also jumped into a well to hide, but was pulled out after a dramatic chase by policemen.

According to sources, WPSI had first alerted forest officials in December 2012. It had also sounded another alert for police and forest officials in April, but the gang members gave a slip to both police and foresters. On May 30, yet another alarm was raised, and this time police took no chances.


 
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