NAGPUR: The leopard skin seizure case in Aamgaon near Gondia got a new twist when the main accused Lilaram Wakde attempted suicide on Friday morning in forest office even as investigations were on.
Talking to TOI, sleuths of Aamgaon police station confirmed that Wakde attempted to end life by hanging from a window grill by a scarf around 10.20am. Wakde was alone in the room when he took the drastic step.
Wakde, a resident of Bamanwada in Lanji, was held at Salekasa station by forestmen on Thursday evening. He along with Devendra Nagpure of Panchamtola in Lanji had handed over the skin to Ritesh Gupta (24) and Kailash Funde (33) of Aamgaon to strike a deal. All were arrested on Thursday. The animal was shot in Lanji forest in Balaghat division.
While investigating officials, including ACF Vijay Udapure and others were engaged in a discussion in another room, Wakde tried to commit suicide. They rushed to the room after hearing some noise and found that Wakde had injured himself by piercing nails in his abdomen and was hanging. The nails were perhaps removed from the wall.
The foresters immediately rushed a bleeding Wakde to the hospital at Aamgaon and then to Gondia. He is said to be out of danger. Forest officials have heaved a sigh of relief as they would have in trouble. Police said they have registered an offence under section 309 against Wakde on a complaint registered by forest guard Rupendra Bhandarkar. PSI P D Pandhre is investigating.
The accused is in for double trouble as apart from being booked under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, he will also be taken up by police. "We will arrest Wakde after he is discharged from the hospital," police officials said.
Wakde is the kingpin as his name was revealed by other three accused. They also said Wakde is suspected to have more skins, including that of a tiger.