The recovery of leopard skin, flesh and bones is under scanner as there are allegations that it was a ploy of the forest officials to impress their seniors to get promotions. Also, it is being alleged that the forest officials took the help of poachers in arranging animal parts.
The Rajaji Tiger Reserve, in Uttarakhand, recently made the recoveries from Doodhli area under the Haridwar forest range.
Right from the day the seizure was made, doubts were being raised over the claims. The Rajaji Tiger Reserve has sent the animal parts for examination to the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun and the forensic report will provide vital links in the case. There are talks that the flesh, bones and hide are not of a single animal and they possibly were collected from different sources.
The role of a deputy ranger is under cloud. The Rajaji Tiger Reserve arrested Amit Kumar, a fish vendor who has accused a forest staff of approaching him for doing the work. The accused was arrested from Raiwala in Haridwar on Friday.
Amit reportedly made arrangements for bones, hide and flesh as per the demand of the forest staff with the help of five others.
Rajaji Tiger Reserve’s director Sanatan Sonker said, “We are investigating the matter and searching the five co-accused involved in the case. If the forest staff is found involved, we will take strict action against him. We will be checking the call details and investigating the role of the forest staff.”
Main accused Amit Kumar has named a deputy ranger.
The secret operation was executed on 22 March. One Uttarakhand forest department officer’s role and over-enthusiasm shown in narrating the story of skin recovery to the media after receiving a tip-off from a NGO, is also a matter of discussion among the wildlife lovers.
Accused Amit Kumar was sent to judicial custody and efforts were on to trace the five others.
The skin and other animal parts were recovered from two different locations. The skin was old and not in good condition.