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
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.