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Notorious tiger poachers among 9 arrested in Pune

 

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Aug 13, 2013

NAGPUR: A team of Melghat forest officials netted nine tiger poachers from Pune in the wee hours of Sunday. Among those arrested were prize catch Luchi and veteran poacher Lupustan.

Sources said a forest department team led by deputy conservator of forests (DyCF) Jitendra Ramgaonkar had left for Pune on Friday after getting a tip off. They were also following the call detail records (CDRs) of the poachers.

The team zeroed in on the poachers from Bahelia tribe near Baner Fata on Pune-Mumbai Expressway in the wee hours of Saturday and nabbed them. The raid was supervised by Pune CCF Jeet Singh himself. Singh and Ramgaonkar did not respond to repeated calls on Monday.

According to Pune forest officials, coincidentally, the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), a NGO working in wildlife enforcement, had given an alert on Tuesday about presence of poachers at Baner Fata.

Nitin Desai, Central India director of WPSI, said, "I had alerted the forest department but I'm not sure whether the poachers were nabbed because of the WPSI alert. But it is a positive development. Such actions against poachers will deter them from entering Maharashtra," said Desai.

The forest officials have seized spears used to kill tigers from the gang. The poachers were brought to Paratwada on Sunday and produced in the court at Paratwada on Monday. All gang members were granted forest custody remand (FCR) till August 16. The gang will be brought to Nagpur in a day or two.

"Our team was on the trail of the gang based on their mobile CDRs. Earlier, the team had been to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh and Parali Vaijnath in Beed district of Marathwada, but could not trace the poachers. Of the nine arrested, two are women and seven men," said SWH Naqvi, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Maharashtra, on Monday.

Naqvi did not reveal the names of the poachers, but said they were wanted in connection with the killing of a tiger and bear at Masondi in Ghatang (East Melghat) in May.


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