Ramakanta Biswas

The Special Task Force (STF) of the Odisha Crime Branch has arrested one person and seized a leopard hide or skin from his possession in Paralakhemundi of Gajapati district, officials said on Thursday.  

The accused, Pabitra Lima, was apprehended during a raid conducted by the STF with the help of Ramgiri forest officials on Wednesday on the road in between village Machaghara and Khamari Sahi near Mahendragarh under R Udayagiri police station jurisdiction. He hails from Khamari Sahi.

"During search one leopard skin and other incriminating materials were recovered from his possession. The accused person could not produce any authority in support of the possession of leopard skin, for which he has been detained and handed over to Ramgiri forest officials for necessary legal action at their end," the STF said. 

"The wildlife product will be sent to the Wild Life Institute of India, Deharadun for chemical examination," the STF said adding that further investigation into the case was going on.

The STF, a specialised wing of the Odisha Police to tackle organised crimes, has been carrying out special drives against wildlife criminals and poachers. So far, it has seized as many as 26 leopard skins, 15 elephant tusks, seven deer skins, 11 live pangolins, 19.5 kg of pangolin scales, two leopard teeth, 29 leopard claws, 46 live wild parrots, and arrested 60 persons.