By Ajay Kumar
The Gurgaon wildlife department has not ruled out poaching in the mysterious deaths of four leopards in April last year in and around the luxurious Golf Course.
A leopard was found dead inside the golf course on April 16. Officials say the death was not due to natural or due to an accident as the wild cat's body bore blunt injury marks, indicating that the animal could have been hunted down. Officials, during the course of investigation, also found carcasses of three leopards on April 25, 2014 in the vicinity and pointed the needle of suspicion towards golf course staff and officials.
"We have filed cases against seven people, including the then CEO of the resort on the basis of the post mortem report. Poaching cannot be ruled out. Moreover, golf course officials did not inform the department about the carcasses. It was only during a search operation that the bodies of the leopards were discovered by wildlife officials," conservator of forests, Gurgaon range, Pankaj Goel said.
Officials also suspect officials' involvement in disposing of the carcasses as no other private players operate in the property apart from the golf course.
"Two burnt carcasses were found and a jute bag with five six spots of blood was also discovered in the proximity. The other body was partially burnt. The grass around the bodies was also burnt," Kawar Pal, wildlife inspector, who is investigating the case, said while adding that the blood stains was an indication that the leopards were killed somewhere else.
A representative of the golf course evaded questions on the matter. However, he claimed that the deaths were reported to the concerned authorities.
Mail Today had published a series of reports on the deaths of wild cats in the region. A story on how a farm house owner in the area lured big cats with goat bait was published on January 4. The farm house had a pond at the footfall, which attracted wild animals.
The owner was also involved in leopard hunting. Mail Today had accessed a seven-and-a-half minute video of the owner hunting the leopard after three attempts.
Apart from the hunting, rumours were also rife that poisonous substances were mixed in the ponds to kill wild animals and enable illegal trade of their body parts.