The divisional forest office of Dhenkanal claimed to have busted an elephant poaching racket with the arrest of one person while launching a manhunt to nab at least four other involved in the crime.
Thirty-two year old Mr Narada Pradhan, a resident of Rajnag village in Hindol block area, was arrested on Monday on charges of killing a tusker last month. “We had formed a 15-member squad to reach the criminals involved in killing a tusker in Kandhar reserve forest of Hindol division in third week of April.”
“The team achieved success by arresting Mr Pradhan,” said Mr PK Sahoo, divisional forest officer (DFO).Mr Pradhan has reportedly confessed his role in the poaching, while informing the interrogators that four others were also involved. According to forest department sources, the mastermind, who get Mr Pradhan and others involved in the poaching, belongs to Narasinghpur area. Mr Pradhan reportedly got Rs 40,000. A team of officials led by DFO Mr Sahoo had visited the spot and recovered the carcass. “Mr Pradhan has been booked under related provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.We have started looking for the prime accused and others involved in the killing of the tusker,” said DFO Mr Pradhan. The forest officials, however, are yet to recover the rifle which was used to commit the crime. Meanwhile, Mr Pradhan was produced in the court of the sub-divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM), Hindol and sent to judicial custody after his bail application was rejected.