By Vijay Pinjarkar
Even as Maharashtra forest department officials are fighting to ensure that gangs of poachers they arrested remained behind bars, TOI learns that deal for three to four more tiger skins have been struck last month in Katni area of Madhya Pradesh. One of these skins was with arrested accused Yarlen's mother, sources said.
TOI has already reported that 20 tiger skins have been trafficked from Pench-Kanha corridor and Vidarbha region in the last 8-9 months as revealed by arrested tiger skin and body parts trader Sarju. Despite a serious situation on tiger poaching front, there is no initiative by Madhya Pradesh officials to even register offences in their area. MP has not registered any offence against two poachers Yarlen and Barsul, who are under MCR in Nagpur Central Jail. Both were arrested by the special task force (STF) of MP Police from Jabalpur on July 23 and handed over to Maharashtra forest officials on July 27 for their links to tiger poaching cases here.
Mamru and Chika, two poachers who were the first ones to be arrested on June 6, by local crime branch (LCB) and forest officials near Mansar, were dealing for a tiger skin with officials posing as customers. "This skin was to be procured from Barsul and Yarlen," sources said.
Mamru had also said that Barsul and Yarlen were involved in poaching of a tiger in Akot division. Although Melghat wildlife officials registered an offence reluctantly, nthing was being done to get custody of the duo in Akot case. Counsel for accused Mamru, Chika, Yarlen and Barsul has already applied for bail. The application will be heard on October 5.
Chief conservator of forests (CCF) for Jabalpur Circle Rajesh Kumar said Yarlen and Barsul were held by the MP STF on the basis of call detail records (CDRs). However, Yarlen talked to his mother while in custody in Nagpur and asked her to hide the tiger skins she had. The recorded tape was later handed over to MP officials. More....