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Tiger and Leopard Skins Seized in West Bengal



27th July 2006

The Alipurduar police arrested Ashok Sharma, the son of known wildlife trader Ratiram Sharma, with 1 tiger skin and 3 leopard skins on 25 July 2006.

Acting on a tip off, the police followed and stopped a numberless car that was speeding towards Bhutan. The skins were found in a bundle inside the car. The police immediately arrested Ashok, unaware that his father Ratiram had been arrested on 14 July with 4 leopard skins, 11kg tiger bones and skulls and 16kg rhino skins, all apparently sourced from animals poached in Assam. Ratiram had also confessed to selling more than 500 musk pods.

Ratiram Sharma is one of the main accused in a 1995 rhino horn case, which is being monitored by WPSI. It would be interesting to know how many dead tigers, leopards, rhino horns and musk pods have passed through his hands in the last eleven years, while the case against him continues to plod forward in court.

During interrogation, Ashok confessed that he had been desperate to dispose of the articles after his father’s arrest, and was driving to Bhutan to meet his buyer. He is now in police custody and the case will soon be handed to the Forest Department.

 

 

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