By Sushant Kulkarni
A prime suspect in the Melghat tiger poaching case has been arrested in Pune. Arkas, who belongs to the Baheliya community in Madhya Pradesh, was arrested from Kasarwadi area of Pimpri Chinchwad on Monday night, jointly by teams of Pune and Amravati forest departments.
With this, the number of arrests in the case has reached 19. In August this year, the state forest department had arrested nine persons, including two women from Pune.
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests S S Mishra said, "We were searching for Arkas for a long time. He managed to give a slip to the investigating teams many times, but was finally nabbed. Forest department officials will produce him before an Amravati court for seeking his custody. His interrogation will reveal crucial information about the tiger poaching racket."
Forest officials said Arkas was wanted for killing a tiger in Ghatang range of Melghat forest in May 2013.
Investigators had arrested five persons in June 2013, who belonged to Baheliya community in Katni, Damoha and Khandwa districts of Madhya Pradesh. They had allegedly poached five tigers just three months before being arrested and had sold the skins and skeletons to another gang based in Haryana. This transaction reportedly took place at Ramtek near Nagpur.
Meanwhile, two suspects Yarlen and Barsul — who were arrested from Jabalpur by MP forest officials — were handed over to the Maharashtra forest department to probe their links with the tiger poaching cases in Melghat and Vidarbha. Yarlen reportedly had connections with suspects Mamru, Siri and Chika, who were arrested in June. More....