By Vijay Pinjarkar
NAGPUR: Even as the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court denied bail to tiger poacher Bhajan, his accomplice Siri, who operated in Melghat region and is said to be ring leader of organized poachers from Katni in MP, was granted bail by a lower court. Meanwhile, another accused Ajit was denied bail by the JMFC, Umred.
The high court denial bail to Bhajan on Tuesday close on the heels of rejection of bail to tiger skin and body parts trader Dalbir Bawaria by Justice SB Shukre on August 26. Sending a clear message, the court stated, "tiger is part of the ecosystem on which we all depend. Poaching of tigers should not be considered as ordinary offence." Unlike Dalbir, the defence counsel withdrew Bhajan's application.
Ajit, who was directly involved in poaching of tigers in Umred-Karhandla wildlife sanctuary in last May, was also denied bail. In contrast, judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) GD Agrawal on August 31 granted bail to dreaded tiger poacher Siri alias Prakash Bisen on the ground that the accused had been in jail for 14 months. Earlier, his bail application was rejected thrice. The forest department has decided to challenge the lower court order in sessions court.
Siri was involved in killing of tigers in Dhakna and Masondi in Melghat and also a sloth bear and a leopard. DNA reports later indicated that not one but four different tigers were poached. Siri had also thrown a spear at Masondi (Ghatang-Melghat) tiger that was caught in a steel trap laid by poachers in May last.
According to confession statements of poachers, Siri came close to locals by making hand bombs from gun powder to kill wild boars to check crop depredation. These bombs were given to accused Madhu and Parman, who became friendly with the poachers. They said Siri was connected to dreaded poachers like Luchi and Bharo, who are wanted in poaching of tigers but absconding.
Siri was the main culprit whose name figured in confession statements of all the arrested poachers. He was regular buyer of steel traps used to kill tigers from Jiyalal, who is also out on bail. Siri was arrested from Paratwada last year and is currently lodged in Nagpur Central Jail. While in jail, he had also threatened other poachers not to reveal any facts.
Forest dept laxity to fore: Poaching
The forest department which, after initial leads, arrested several poachers and registered preliminary offence reports (PORs) seems to be slacking up. The lack of seriousness can be gauged from the fact that a steering meeting on poaching called by APCCF (wildlife) Meyipokyim Aier on Monday was not attended by Nagpur CCF under whose jurisdiction most of the offences are registered. PORs are not being investigated nor absconding poachers being arrested. Recently, the CCF shifted forester Jayesh Tayde, who was looking after poaching cases that are at a crucial stage. The investigating officer (IO) lacks staff to monitor cases and additional staff is not being given. "We have decided to pursue court cases vigorously and have asked Nagpur DCF to give adequate staff to the IO," said Aier.