Mrunal Manmay Dash

The personnel of the Odisha Forest Department arrested three wildlife smugglers from the North 24 Parganas district of neighbouring West Bengal on Monday.

The accused have been identified as Biseswar Bag, Upendra Bag and Rajen Nag.

Though all the accused are from Odisha, they were nabbed by the Odisha Forest Department while making a deal to sell leopard skin in North 24 Parganas.

As per reports, the accused were trying to sell the hide for Rs 10,000. However, the Forest Department officials who had been following them from Odisha nabbed them red-handed.

A leopard skin was also recovered from the accused persons.

It is pertinent to mention here that smuggling of leopard skin has become rampant in Odisha. The Police have arrested at least eight smugglers in two different cases in the last two months.

The Special Task Force (STF) of the Odisha Police Crime Branch had seized the hides of two leopards in Rayagada district on November 8. The police had arrested two persons in connection with the matter.

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Just two weeks after this, the Crime Branch STF seized two leopard skins and arrested a person in Nayagarh.

Similarly, as many as six persons were arrested and a tiger skin was recovered by the Forest Department during a raid at a place on the Kalahandi-Nabarangpur border on December 6.

After the interrogation of the accused, a poacher, identified as Rishi Majhi, was arrested from Chancharaguda village under the Jayapatna forest range. A country-made gun, skin of a python, and other ammunitions were seized from his house.