By Vijay Pinjarkar
It was a near miss for the forest team from Nagpur on the trail of three organized tiger poachers, Luchi, Bharo and Bhajan, all from the Baheliya community. They are wanted in connection with the killing of tigers in the region, but gave a slip to the team trailing them from Solapur over the past three days.
Based on the call detail records (CDRs), a divisional forest officer (DFO) and an assistant conservator of forests (ACF) along with others were in Solapur to track the three down.
However, the poachers got a hint that they were being tracked, and shifted towards Karnataka. The team pursued the culprits and also conducted raids at Goka in Chikodi, but could not nab them.
At one of the Baheliya camps, the officials found only women, with the men having decamped on realizing the forest department was on the prowl. The team managed to round up three persons, but they were not among those wanted.
Sources said it was a near miss as the poachers had escaped after getting a hint. Their phones were not reachable thereafter. ""Although officials could not catch hold of the prime accused, they have got some vital leads. The three are among the 48 persons wanted in poaching of tiger at Masondi in East Melghat,"" sources said.
TOI had reported the revelations by tiger skin trader Sarju Bagdi alias Suraj Bhan outside a local court here last week that separate gangs have traded over 20 tiger skins from here. This has sent a chill down the spine of senior wildlife wing officials, and they are trying to suppress facts. More....