Unit 11 of the Mumbai Crime branch arrested two persons who were sons of employees of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) for allegedly killing a leopard and later trying to sell its skin.
Police suspect that the two, who have access to the park, have sold various rabbits and snakes from the park to outsiders.
Acting on a tip-off, Crime Branch Unit 11, under the guidance of senior police inspector Raghunath Dalvi, nabbed four people, who had come to sell leopard skin near Omkareshwar Temple on Western Express Highway in Borivali East.
“They had already fixed a deal with a customer for Rs 4.5 lakh and were going to give the delivery of the skin on Monday afternoon when our team nabbed them,” said Praful Bhosale, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch.
“It’s a big racket that operates in SGNP in connivance with the park employees and tribals. Poachers steal small animals and sell it to outsiders and kill big animals and sell their parts,” said Bhosale.
Those arrested were identified as Anup Khaire, Prashant Patel, Tushar Bagwe and Abhishek Rane.
The police said Patel and Bagwe were sons of employees of SGNP. They will be produced in a local court today.
“We will send the leopard skin to experts and forensic department to determine when was it killed,” said Dalvi.