Judicial magistrate first class (JMFC), R B Raja, on Thursday sent notorious tiger skin trader and body parts trader Sarju Bagdi alias Surajbhan to four days' forest custody after he was rearrested in connection with poaching of two tigers.
Sarju, who was produced in the court on Thursday after his one-day custody ended, was to be sent to magisterial custody when special counsel for the forest department Kartik Shukul filed an application seeking rearrest of Sarju in a fresh offence.
During interrogation, Sarju had revealed that of the five tiger skins, two were procured from Umred and three from Amdi Fata near Ramtek in May and June first week.
Although over 20 tiger skins have been trafficked from the region to China via Nepal by different traders in the last 8-9 months, Sarju admitted that the number was 13. Of this 13 tiger skins, forest officials could corroborate evidence of two based on the call detail records (CDRs).
Arguing for forest custody of Sarju, special counsel Shukul told the court that his connections with the two fresh cases of tiger poaching needs to probed.
Allowing the forest department submission, the court said that the matter is serious and time needs to be give to the prosecution for further probe to unfold the links. It granted FCR to Sarju till September 30.
Officials are making all out efforts to bring kingpin Suraj Pal and Sarju's associate Naresh Lala to Nagpur. Both are under judicial custody in Delhi.
For the first time, the forest officials issued a garbled press release late in the night informing about the court matter. Calls for a request to send a fresh release were not responded.