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Illegal tiger trade syndicate busts, WPSI ex-field officer arrested: WCCB

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On 29.07.2023 Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), an apex body constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to combat the organised wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade issued a red alert to all Tiger reserves and tiger bearing areas to intensify the patrolling and sanitise all above areas from hunting gangs. based on the credible inputs.

On 28.06.2023 a tiger skin and bones were seized and 05 offenders arrested at Guwahati by Assam Forest and police officials. The case was transferred by the Assam forest department to WCCB for investigation as the case showed involvement of multiple states. The WCCB constituted an SIT to investigate the Guwahati tiger skin and bone seizure case.

The preliminary interrogation of the offenders showed that the tiger body parts seized belong to the Gadchiroli area in Maharashtra. These initial interrogation findings were shared by the WCCB with the Maharashtra forest department officials. Based on WCCB inputs 10 members hunting gang belonging to the Bawariya community were arrested from Gadchiroli area.

Leg-hold traps and tiger body parts were also recovered from them. One of the offenders wanted in the Guwahati seizure case was also arrested from the Gadchiroli area. Based on the interrogation of the offender arrested in Guwahati and Gadchiroli. Further investigation taken up. It was found that a person Mr. Mishram Jakhad in Dwarika controls and dictates the tiger. poaching and illegal trade of tiger body parts.

He not only sponsers the tiger illegal trade syndicate but also. exploits huge money from the poachers, smugglers and blackmails them. On 31.07.2023. the WCCB SIT officials along with the Gadchiroli team raided the  suspects premises. Mr. Mishram Jhakad was arrested alongwith cash of Rs. 14.80 Lac suspected to be connected to illegal trade in tiger parts. During the search. an ID card has been recovered from Jakhad showing that he has worked as field officer of WPSI (Wildlife Protection Society of India).

He has confessed that he has worked in the wildlife wing of the forest department, NCT Delhi Government. A case has been registered u/s 9/ 39/ 48/ 49A/ 50/ 51 / 52 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and he was produced before the Honb’le court. In response to the transit remand filed to take him to Gadchiroli for further interrogation with his associates,

The Honb’le court has granted him a transit bail, considering his age (81yrs) but. directed the accused to appear before the court and the Investigation Officer in such date and time he is asked. It suspected that the Offender Mishram Jakhad is well connected to the tiger poachers and smuggling syndicates.

Along with Maharashtra forest officials, the WCCB SIT is probing deeply into the tiger poaching and illegal trade network under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) will also be roped in for investigation of this predicate offense under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

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