The Forest Department has on Friday an registered offence against four people for allegedly killing a female leopard in Wadgaon Shinde near Lohegaon in Pune.
Among the four detained, three are minors. All the four suspects have been served notices by forest department. During submissions, the accused will be once again made to appear before the court.
On Friday, sugarcane-cutting labourers found a dead leopard around seven in the evening. Upon receiving the information, Forest officials rushed to the spot and seized the dead female leopard aged approximately 10 months. On close inspection of the spot, prima facie it was observed that the death of the female leopard was due to the attack of the dogs. Also, three claws of the front right leg and the claw of the back right leg of the dead leopard were found to be missing.
After the dissection of the dead leopard, it was seen that 3 toenails and claws of the leopard were cut with a sharp weapon. Considering the seriousness of the matter, forest officials went back to the spot and investigated the area with the help of a dog team. When the sugar cane cutters were inquired about, they initially offerred vague answers. At that time, the forest officials conducted a separate inquiry of the male labourers, children, and women. During this inquiry, a minor boy said that with the help of his father and two minor boys, he had cut four nails of the dead leopard with a knife.
After a thorough interrogation, all suspects accepted that they had committed the crime, out of attraction to make a locket with a leopard’s nail.
The forest officials seized 4 leopard nails, a foot claw, and 2 knives used in the crime from the accused. The accused Kantilal Chander Singh Sonwane and three minors have been taken into custody for further investigation.
Ashutosh Shendage, assistant conservator of Forest, Pune Forest Division said, “An FIR was lodged against the accused persons and they were detained for inquiry. Subsequently, they were released after being served notices under CrPC 41 (1). During submissions before the Court, the accused will be once again made to appear before the court.”