By Vijay Pinjarkar
Even as forest officials from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are trying to get to the bottom mass tiger poaching case, some startling facts show how officials from neighbouring state also goofed up.
A team from MP that was in Nagpur on Wednesday to quiz the three arrested tiger poachers- Chika, Siri and Badlu- was horrified to learn that their colleagues had not registered an offence even after forest guards recovered a tiger trap on February 5, in Rukhad, about 100km from here, in Pench forest.
Rukhad staff had also recovered a cell phone from the site. Details in the handset led to Rokin, another poacher. Officials also found some hospital treatment cards from Katol showing name of Ujen. It is learnt that Ujen, Chika and Rokin are members of the same gang and may even be brothers.
Sources said actual Chika is 13 years old and the arrested poacher, who gave his name as Chika is 19. He may be faking his identity and coule actually be Rokin who laid the trap in Rukhad. Forest officials do not have any ID of poachers.
This is the same gang that gave a slip to Nagpur forest officials in Mansar in December. It then went to MP and laid traps near Khawasa and Rukhad. "Had an offence been registered, we could have taken the custody of accused in Rukhad case," they said.
Meanwhile, JMFC court on Wednesday extended the custody of arrested poachers. Besides, Jiyalal Bawankar of Buradghat, who made metal traps for poachers, and Madhu, a local from Masondi, who assisted the culprits, were remanded to magisterial custody.