Forest Department officials arrested three men — Sharad Chavan (42), Sanjay Chavan (48) and Sanket Chavan (19) — over the last week for allegedly killing a leopard and attempting to sell its nails.
Acting on a tip off on December 21, the officials raided Sharad’s residence at PMGP Colony, Mankhurd where they recovered two leopard nails. Sharad revealed that his brother Sanjay and his son Sanket — both alleged poachers — gave them to him to keep.
Pic for representational purposes only
On December 23, the officers arrested Sanjay from his house in Kolthare, Ratnagiri, where they found a leopard trap. During investigation, Sanjay confessed that he set the leopard’s body on fire after Sharad’s arrest. Ash from the spot near his house where the corpse was burnt has been sent to the forensic department.
Pravin Patil, senior officer, Forest Department, Thane Division, said, “We nabbed Sanket from Mumbai on December 25. We are yet to confirm whether they sold other parts of the leopard, and whether they are history sheeters.” Another officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “Along with the leopard’s body, Sanjay also burnt 16 nails. We have to determine whether they killed more than one leopard.”
A complaint has been registered the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. If convicted, they could face imprisonment up to seven years.