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CBI-trained forest department reopens 50 cases of wildlife crimes

 
Indian Express, Sukanya Shantha
Sat Jun 22 2013

Mumbai, June 20 : HAVING lost 89 tigers and 169 leopards in the past 15 years, the state government has reopened 50 cases of wildlife crimes pending since 1996. CBI is training forest officers to crack the cases. The aim is to bring down pendency, as 90 per cent of the cases are stuck at the investigation or trial level. The cases reopened are those involving species under schedule 1 (animals provided absolute protection) of Wildlife (Protection) Act.

NGO Wildlife Protection Society of India has listed 258 cases from across the state, including 26 registered in Mumbai, a “targeted wildlife trade city”.

Other targeted districts are Amravati, Bhandara, Chandrapur, Gondia, Gadchiroli, Nagpur, Thane and Kolhapur, which are home to nearly 90 per cent of tigers and leopards in Maharashtra. The state has 200 adult tigers and a few hundred cubs. Several pre-1996 cases are pending before courts or are unsolved, but “only hopeful cases have been revived”, principal secretary (forest) Praveen Pardeshi said.

Keshav Kumar, CBI western region head, prepared a training module for forest officers and judicial members in January. An expert in wildlife forensics who helped in conviction of 45 lion poachers in Gir, he has been helping the forest department since “Our officers never looked at forensic details such as bloodstains or sent hair/nails found at crime scenes for DNA sampling. We have started doing this now,” Pardeshi said.

 
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