Two nabbed in Chhattisgarh with leopard skin


Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh) : Two poachers were nabbed in Chhattisgarh when they were allegedly striking a deal with a decoy customer for a leopard skin.

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The Crime Branch of Bilaspur police seized the five-feet-long leopard skin, an air pistol, a sword and the car in which the men were travelling in the district on Sunday.

The accused, Ravi Pandey and Kuldeep Kumar, were booked under various sections of The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and section 25 of the Arms Act.

A Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) official, who had been in touch with the traders for more than four months to clinch the deal, tipped police about them.

Both men are natives of Baikunthpur town in Koriya district of Chhattisgarh, an official said Thursday.

Wildlife undercover agents in the state have been monitoring the illegal activities of the men regularly and collecting information in order to form an effective plan to catch them.

"The decoy customer had promised to pay them extra money for the skin. This tempted them to sell," said WTI's Joydeep Bose.

"They asked me to follow them to their car, where the skin was kept. When they were showing the skin, neatly wrapped in a paper, the police team that was following us quickly surrounded the car. In the commotion, the accused pulled out an air pistol to scare them away, but police finally managed to catch them," said an official, who went as decoy customer.

Leopards in India are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, which prohibits killing and trade in their body parts.