NAGPUR: Judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) A Y Borkar on Friday rejected the bail application of seven hardened tiger poachers who not only laid traps but also skinned and boned the tiger, ate its flesh before processing and selling the skin in May last year.
Earlier, the court had rejected the bail pleas of tiger skin traders Suraj Pal, Sarju Bagdi, poachers Shiri, Mamru, Chika and Madhu Sawalkar in Masondi (Ghatang) case.
The bail application of Nirafal, his wife Minar and son Srival, Lupustan, Ujiyaar, Bandariya and Arjun was filed on December 4, 2013. However, since then the defence counsel A Adaspurkar appeared before the court only once. However, the JMFC finally rejected it on Friday.
There were several grounds for the rejection of bail of the hardened wildlife criminals. During subsequent hearings in the court, special counsel for forest department K N Shukul stated that the accused misled court in Achalpur and Nagpur by giving fake residential addresses.
As all the accused were vagabonds, granting them bail was risky. Besides, bail application of all the accused was rejected earlier in December in poaching of sloth bear at Masondi in east Melghat division.
The accused in their confession statements admitted that they laid two steel traps to kill tigers. Shukul in his reply had stated that if released, the accused would tamper with evidence, influence witnesses and alert the absconding accused.
Nirafal has earlier admitted to have killed two leopards and a tiger in 2012 in Masondi. In May last when a tiger was trapped all the accused skinned it and threw organs in a deep valley. They also cooked its flesh and ate it. Lupustan had visited Nepal thrice to sell tiger skins and was operating in Melghat region for long. This gang has confessed to poaching two tigers, two leopards and two sloth bears in 2012-13.
Their involvement also cannot be ruled out in killing of three more tigers in Masondi. Verification of DNA samples collected as evidence from the spot at Masondi sent to Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, revealed that four separate tigers were killed and not one as reported by Melghat officials.
Following CCMB report, S S Mishra, additional principal chief conservator of forests (APCCF) for wildlife (East Nagpur), who is also chief of the steering committee on tiger poaching cases, said, "I've asked Melghat officials to register separate preliminary offence reports (PORs) in all the three cases."
To a question, Mishra said three PORs have been registered in Katol, Khumari and Sevagram poaching cases as revealed by arrested poachers and tiger skin traders Dalbir, Ranjit and Saranki in their confession statements. TOI had reported about it on February 8. From Katol, Ranjit had trafficked two tiger skins.