Nagpur: The Pench tiger poaching racket is getting darker and darker as the Forest officials have seized four tiger canines from one of the two accused who were arrested on Friday (August4). The canines measuring 11 & 12 cms seem to be of a big male tiger that was killed by poisoning on a water hole at Golpahadi inside the core area of Pench Tiger Reserve during Holi this year.
Earlier, 12kg tiger bones and 14 nails were seized from two persons.
The Investigating Officer and Range Forest Officer (RFO) Pandurang Pakhale, who had arrested two more accused — SD Dhurve and BB Parteti – said that the canines were seized from a field belonging to Baliram Uikey of Kolitmara. During interrogation, both the accused initially tried to give evasive replies but later one of them, named Parteti, fell in line and disclosed that the canines were hidden in the farm of Uikey. The farm is 300 metres from the residence of the accused Parteti, who had clandestinely hidden the canines without the knowledge of Uikey. The canines were recovered during spot visit.
Since June 27, when the tiger poaching racket was exposed in and around Pench, nine tribal fishermen, involved in illegal fishing inside Totladoh reservoir in Pench, have been arrested. Till now, revelation about poaching of four tigers have come to fore. Of the nine accused, five who are lodged in Nagpur Central Jail have applied for bail pleading innocence. However, forest officials have opposed the bail nine of the accused stating that they are making revelations in piecemeal which is taking time for recovery.
Earlier, it was thought that these fishermen are only involved in fishing and were doing it to earn livelihood. But apart from illegal fishing, they were also involved in poaching tigers and trading body parts. They also killed herbivores like chital and sambars for meat. This confession is there in accused statements, said the Forest officials.
There are more tiger body parts that are on the verge of being traded in MP. We are now zeroing in on traders and would soon find out where the body parts are being traded, said the officials.