By Vijay Pinjarkar
The judicial magistrate first class (JMFC), R B Raja, on Monday sent tiger skin trader Sarju Bagdi alias Surajbhan to magisterial custody remand (MCR) till October 17 and reserved order on bail application of two poaching case accused Mamru and Chika for October 9.
Sarju, who was under forest custody remand (FCR) since September 12, in two separate tiger poaching cases - Masondi in Melghat (POR 32/13) and Pench (POR 32/15) - was granted MCR as the forest department did not push for further custody. Sarju was arrested by Delhi Police early last month. He is likely to be arrested in another case registered in Umred.
The arguments over bail application of accused Mamru and Chika, who were arrested on June 5 from Mansar, lasted for over an hour with counsel for accused PS Sontakke arguing that both were arrested on the basis of suspicion and there was no recovery from them. The bail application of both has already been rejected earlier.
Sontakke submitted that the accused were being framed on the basis of confessional statements and there was no circumstantial evidence. He said the accused were languishing in jail for sufficient time despite the fact that the forest department had no past criminal record about them and cited some Supreme Court judgments pointing out that number of pending cases was not the criteria to deny bail.
However, citing relevant judgements on poaching, special counsel for forest department Kartik Shukul submitted that apart from habitat loss, poaching of tigers was the biggest threat and only 1,400 tigers were left in the wild in India. More....