Himansu Shekhar Rout

The Special Task Force (STF) of the Odisha Crime Branch seized the hide of a leopard and arrested one person while the accused was going to strike a deal at Sudrukumpa in Phulbani area of Kandhamal district on Saturday. 

As per reports, the STF officials received a tip-off about a deal of Rs 25 lakh for the leopard hide. They laid a trap. They conducted a raid in Sudrukama area and arrested the accused identified as Goutam Behera(55). The accused had reportedly struck a deal to sell the hide to a person for Rs 25 lakh.

The leopard hide was seized from him. The accused was produced in court.

Meanwhile, the STF has started an investigation to establish when the big cat was poached and who was to buy the hide. The hide will be sent to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, for biological test, sources said.

Earlier on January 11, a team of forest officials seized a leopard hide after raiding Kotagaon village under Tushura police limits in Boangir district. They arrested wildlife smuggler Mukesh Manahira and later his accomplice from the neighbouring Boudh district.