By Vijay Pinjarkar
At a time when arrested tiger skin trader Sarju Bagdi admitted to TOI about trafficking over 20 tiger skins from here by various gangs, four accused have applied for bail.
Mamru, Chika, Yarlen and Barsul, who were arrested for poaching a tiger and sloth bear in Masondi in East Melghat, had applied for bail through their lawyer PS Sontakke.
Speaking to TOI, Sontakke said, "I had filed the bail application on September 16." The matter came up for hearing on Thursday before judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) RB Raja.
Additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), East, Nagpur, SS Mishra, confirmed that the department came to know about the bail application on Thursday only.
The court asked special counsel for forest department Kartik Shukul to file a reply but Shukul sought time to file reply as notice was supplied without the application of bail by the accused. The matter has been kept for hearing on September 24. All the accused arrested in the poaching case are under magisterial custody (MCR) in central jail till September 24. Shukul told the court that he will file a reply and subsequently argue the matter the same day.
Three months after their arrest in tiger case on June 6, Mamru and Chika have applied for bail for the first time. Earlier, a similar application was filed by accused Siri, Yarlen and Barsul in August, but their bail application was rejected.
Earlier, officials said, bail application of Chika and Mamru was rejected by an Achalpur court in killing of sloth bear in the same trap in which a tiger was trapped in Masondi.
The forest department has already filed a charge-sheet on August 5, in the tiger poaching case in which Barsul, Yarlen, Mamru, Chika, Siri and others have been named.