Navi Mumbai: The crime branch of Navi Mumbai police arrested a 31-year-old man from the Mumbai-Goa highway near Panvel and seized the skin of a leopard. The accused had brought the skin for sale.
The arrested accused was identified as Jitendra Khotu Pawar alias Sanju, a resident of Ratnagiri and labourer by profession. He was caught with the leopard skin near Kharpada Toll Plaza along the Mumbai-Goa highway.
Police laid trap to nab the accused
On February 28 evening, unit 2 of the crime branch received information that a man was bringing leopard skin near the Kharpada toll plaza. Under the guidance of Ravindra Patil, senior police inspector of the crime branch, a team of police officials laid a trap near the toll plaza.
Around 9.10 pm on February 28, they saw a man coming near the toll plaza carrying a bag on his shoulder. After noticing him for around five minutes, police found him suspicious. The police intervened and caught him. When the bag was checked, they found the skin of a leopard. A strong smell was coming out of the bag.
Leopard’s skin valued at ₹2.5 lakh in illicit markets
Amit Kale, DCP (crime branch) said that the accused had not revealed much about how he got the skin and who killed the animal.
Meanwhile, a case was registered against him at Panvel Taluka police station under sections 9 (1), 49 and 51 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972. According to police, the value of the skin in the illicit markets is around ₹2.5 lakh.
Leopard is listed in schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (1972) and the accused will get a maximum punishment of seven-year jail and a heavy fine, said the forest official.
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