The Crime Branch busted a gang of poachers,arresting three persons including Surajpal,who,according to police,has reigned wildlife poaching since the arrest of kingpin Sansar Chand in 2005 and had been on the run for the past 20 years.
Police have also recovered Rs 50.7 lakh in cash and more than 18 kg of skull,teeth,nails and bones of a tiger from the men.
The accused have been identified as Surajpal (65),Suraj Bhan (28) alias Sarju and Naresh (32) alias Lala. The tiger skull,bones,nails and teeth are worth several crores in the international market. Bhan and Pal are notorious for illegal sale and supply of derivatives of endangered animals under the Wild Life Protection Act,1972. The duo has been in the trade for many years, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ravindra Yadav said.
Police had information regarding one Sarju who was illegally trading in leopard and tiger skins. Later,investigations revealed that Sarju and his father Daliya used to work as poachers for Sansar Chand.
After Chand was arrested in a case under the Wildlife Protection Act,1972,this gang became the most active and notorious in this field,police said. Teams from the Forest Conservative Department (Maharashtra) and Wild Life Crime Control Bureau (Delhi) had been on the lookout for Sarju.
Police recently received a tip off that Sarju and one Naresh would be going to GTK bypass via ISBT,Kashmiri Gate,carrying derivatives of an endangered animal. A trap was laid and the duo were arrested at the Chandgi Ram Akhara traffic T-point.
During questioning,the accused told police that they had purchased the derivatives from a Gujjar herdsman,a resident of Nagina in Uttar Pradesh. Nagina lies right between tiger reserves of Jim Corbett and Rajaji national parks.
The duo said they were lured by Surajpal to bring the skin and derivatives of a tiger and paid Rs 6 lakh in advance. After the duos arrest,Surajpal was arrested from his residence in Adarsh Nagar and Rs 50 lakh in cash and tiger nails were recovered from his house.
Police said Surajpal had been introduced to the illegal trade by Khalique Hussain. There were around 50-60 families in Rathdhana,Sonepat,and other villages,who killed the animals for him. In fact,police said he had a network all over Maharashtra,Haryana,Sonepat,Madhya Pradesh and various states in Southern India.