The Kegaon Forest Range officials on Tuesday seized a leopard skin and nails from a person in Tingiripada village in Kalahandi district who has been detained for questioning.
However, the forest officials are yet to ascertain whether the recovered skin is original or counterfeit.
According to reports, officials from the Koregaon Forest Range were tipped off about a man trying to sell leopard skin in a village under their jurisdiction. Subsequently, they managed to apprehend the alleged trafficker and recovered a leopard skin and nails from his possession.
“We received information about a man selling leopard skin in Tingiripada area following which we zeroed in on the suspect and caught hold of him. Later, during searches we found the skin along with nails from his possession and confiscated those. The skin has been sent to a forensic laboratory to establish its’ genuineness. The suspect is presently being questioned,” said Keshav Majhi, Kegaon Range Forest Officer.
Speaking on the detainee’s identity Majhi said “He claims to be living in Daspur Village temporarily. But, he originally hails from Jharkhand.”
Meanwhile, following the frequent seizure of animal skins and other wildlife products from smugglers in the State, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been roped in for conducting a thorough probe as the cases have inter-state connections. Henceforth, the Central agency will be probing the cases involving smuggling of Ivory and leopard hide in the State.
Notably, the ED has already taken over four cases registered this year which were earlier probed by Crime Branch. Four persons have been summoned for questioning by the Central agency so far.
By Ashutosh Mallik