Valsad, Sep 18 (SocialNews.XYZ) Four persons have been arrested in Gujarat's Valsad district for allegedly selling leopard skin by the District North Range Forest department, forest officials said.
All the accused will be produced before the court and the forest officials will seek their remand to investigate them further.
Valsad North District Forest Conservator, Nisha Raj told IANS, "We were tipped off by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau that some persons from the area are planning to sell leopard skin. Therefore three teams were formed and started searching for the persons and were able to catch the accused identified as Chintu Gavit, Nagin Chaudhary, Narottam Bhoye and Ranjit Valvi with leopard skin. All accused belong to the tribal community and are not part of any gang."
The Forest department official said that during questioning, the accused claimed that a year ago a leopard had died after falling into a well in Ranjit's farm. He pulled out the body with help of the rest of the accused and excoriated the skin, and then buried the skeleton in the corner of the farm.
She added that the skeleton of the leopard has been recovered but its claws are missing and search for it is underway.
The accused had handed over the leopard skin to a 'sadhu' along the Gujarat-Maharashtra border from whom they recently got the possession and were planning to sell it out.
An investigation is underway that whether other persons are also involved or they were in contact with any hunters or buyers and reveal their names and how they came into contact.