The Pune City Police Crime Branch has arrested two farmers from Aurangabad and recovered a tiger skin, which they had allegedly brought to Pune for sale. Police said the price of the seized skin in the illegal market is around Rs 5 lakh.
An officer from the Unit 1 of the Crime Branch said that a constable on their team received a tip off that two persons were coming to Pune to sell a tiger skin, a trap was laid on Saturday and two persons on a motorcycle were detained for questioning. A tiger skin was recovered from their belongings, said an officer.
Subsequently, a case under Wildlife Act was registered and the two suspects — Rameshwar Harishchandra Deshmukh (35) and Vijay Ganpat Jagtap (38), both residents of Aurangabad— were placed under arrest.
Inspector Arun Waykar, who led the team that made the arrest, said: “We contacted the forest department for the examination of the skin. Their primary observation suggests that the skin is old and is not from a recent kill. They (suspects) told us that they procured the skin from a godman and were trying to sell it in Pune. We are verifying their claims. Both are farmers and have no prior record of wildlife related offences.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Bachchan Singh said that a probe has been launched to find the source of the tiger skin and to ascertain if there were any potential buyers.”
The police have also seized their bike.
It can be recalled that in two separate incidents — in June and third week of this month — police have seized elephant tusks worth Rs 3.5 crore and Rs 80 lakh, respectively. In June, the Pune City Police Crime Branch had also arrested two persons —one from Kolhapur and another from Satara — and had seized from them one live pangolin, which they had allegedly brought to Pune to sell it to smugglers. The seized animal was estimated at Rs 50 lakh in illicit market. Earlier, in January, officers from Bharti Vidyapeeth police had seized one live pangolin worth Rs 70 lakh and pangolin scales worth Rs 7 lakh in two separate cases.