By Vijay Pinjarkar
NAGPUR: Even as endangered species like tigers are bring poached to extinction, those involved are being freed one by one on bail, only to get into the same business again.
Last month, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court granted bail to two Baheliya poachers, Yarlen and Barsul. Before that, tiger skin trader Naresh Lala from Delhi was also released on bail. Now, all three have filed an application before the court to be exempted from appearance at hearings due to health reasons.
All three are wanted for poaching tigers in the region. While Lala transported five tiger skins from Umred and Amdi Fata, Yarlen and Barsul were wanted in poaching of tiger at Akot in Melghat (Amravati).
Records accessed by TOI show that poachers from hunting tribes like Baheliyas from Katni and Bawarias of Haryana never turn up before the court once released on bail. Many dreaded poachers released on bail are either absconding or had to be tracked down and arrested for the second time.
Till now, eight hard-core poachers involved in poaching tigers during 2012-13 have been granted bail by the courts. They include global traders Suraj Pal alias Chacha (still in jail) and Naresh Lala (both orders granting bail are being challenged before the high court), Yarlen, Barsul and poacher harbourers Parman and Soberam, besides Jiyalal Bawankar, who uses to make steel traps for poachers.
A review of poaching cases In the region over the past few years shows that poachers belonging to the Baheliya community never attend cases once released on bail, and found to be involved in new poaching cases.
In 2004, four Baheliya men and nine women were nabbed with a steel trap used to poach tigers in Brahmapuri division. All the accused from Biruhali near Katni were released on bail by the court, and since then the case is pending since the accused have never shown up.
Another example is of Keru Chhiyalal Rajgond and Ranjit Singh Bawaria. CBI had nabbed them along with others at Nagpur railway station and seized two tiger skins and 30kg bones in November 2009. Keru got bail in July 2010 from the high court and Ram Swarup, Ranjit's son-in-law, was declared juvenile by chief judicial magistrate (CJM) at Nagpur. Ranjit later got bail in early 2011, just like Amit Kumar, Channa Lal, Tashi Shering and Tashi Lado.
As of today, Keru is absconding and has never attended a single hearing after getting bail. CBI issued non-bailable warrant (NBW) many times but he never attended court. Keru and his brother Ajit were later involved in poaching tigers again.
Last summer, they poached a full-grown tiger at Umred-Karhandla wildlife sanctuary and one in Brahmapuri division. The court has not yet called for a surety from Keru. Ajit is lodged in Central Jail and has applied for bail.
Tashi Shering died in December last while Lado is absent from hearings for the last one year. The court has not taken any action on his application to not appear before it on medical grounds. Similarly, Ranjit has been absconding from March 2013 but no NBW was issued by the court. Luckily, he was arrested by Melghat forest officials from Andhra Pradesh in December last year for his role in poaching tigers in Melghat tiger reserve (MTR).
Even in the case of Yarlen and Barsul, their address was not verified by the court. Baheliya poachers use fake names and also produce fake documents like ration card and birth certificates to get out on bail. Recently, the birth certificates of two poachers, Mamru and Chika, submitted in court were found to be fake.