Days after a 25-ft female whale shark was found dead at Sassoon Dock in Mumbai, the police arrested three more men in the connection with the case on Monday. They were also booked by the Mangrove Foundation, which falls under the state mangrove cell.
On August 12, fishermen at Sassoon Dock in Colaba informed the police after sighting a dead whale shark. It was illegally caught by a fishing trawler and abandoned at the dock, officials had said after preliminary probe, adding that it had been cut into pieces for sale. Some of its fins and tail were also found missing.
The police had then arrested a tempo driver and a buyer for their alleged involvement in the trading of the endangered species and had been granted their custody by the court till August 18. The two were also booked by the Mangrove Foundation.
Three more men, including owners of the fishing boat used in catching the shark, were arrested on Monday. Owners Dilip Hari Sivakar (40) and Tandel Gopinath Damodar Mhatre (38) and trader Krishna Buchade (29), who had bought the fish for auction, were also booked by the foundation.
The three have been charged under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and will be produced before the district court on Tuesday.
The fisheries department is also likely to take action against the accused fishermen by revoking their licences, said an official.
Whale sharks are a protected species under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which makes their capture and killing a cognizable offence.
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