Anandpur Sahib, January 13
After two leopards fell to the bullets of hunters in the district recently, officials of the Ropar Wildlife Department managed to nab four alleged poachers, including the son of a prominent Congress leader.
The suspects have been identified as Angad Singh, a resident of Sector 9 in Chandigarh, Balraj Ghumman of Patiala, Baljit Singh of Dakala village in Patiala district and Balbir Singh from Himachal Pradesh.
Angad Singh’s mother is a former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) member. She also unsuccessfully contested the Assembly elections in 2007 on the Congress ticket. Balraj is a known hunter in the area, who is hired by farmers to kill wild boar and blue bull after obtaining a permit to protect their crops.
The district had witnessed the death of two leopards on December 27 and January 2 due to poaching. While a leopard cub was found shot in a forest area of Nikku Nangal village near Nangal on December 27, a five-year-old adult male leopard was found shot dead on January 2 in the Nurpur Bedi area. Balraj Singh and Angad Singh had been issued permits for hunting wild boar and blue bull in villages of Ropar district. “We were receiving information that hunters were targeting other species in the garb of these permits and nakas were laid at different places,” said the DFO.
He said a naka was set up on the Paharpur-Baloli road and when the suspects reached there around 3.30 am, on a search of their Gypsy, the carcasses of a barking deer and a wild boar were recovered. Two rifles, along with five live cartridges and a spent cartridge, were also seized. The arms and ammunition recovered from the poachers would be sent to a forensic laboratory to ascertain the possible involvement of the four suspects in the poaching of the two leopards. Efforts would also be made to trace their locations on the days when the two leopards were killed, he said.
Kulraj said the barking deer was a protected animal under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protecction Act, 1972, and its poaching invited an imprisonment from three to seven years or a fine of Rs 1 lakh or both. Earlier, three poachers were nabbed on Saturday after an antelar and sambar meat was recovered from them in the Nurpur Bedi area, he said. The post-mortem of the sambar found dead in a reservoir of the Nangal dam revealed that there were no bullet injuries and it died due to drowning, he said.
All suspects were produced before the court of JMIC Garima Gupta at Anandpur Sahib from where they were sent to judicial custody.
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