Constable among nine held for peddling leopard skin

Constable among nine held for peddling leopard skin

A police constable was among nine people arrested on charges of trying to sell a leopard skin.

A tip-off from a senior wildlife activist in the city led to the arrest of nine persons, across the border in Andhra Pradesh for attempting to sell the leopard pelt.

Divisional Forest Officer Satish, who took part in the raid, said the forest officials and police had been on high alert for the past 10 days in expectation of the gang to make its move.

The arrests were made on Tuesday morning at Giddalur, Andhra Pradesh, about 130 kilometres east of the Karnataka border.

One leopard pelt, which the forest officials estimated as being over a year old and three leopard nails were recovered from the arrested.

Forest officials also confiscated a Bolero and motorcycle, which they said were used in the organised wildlife trafficking racket.

The tip-off came from the Bengaluru branch of Traffic, an International NGO which monitors wildlife trafficking.

Forest officials said the nine arrested individuals come from a variety of backgrounds.

“Some are shepherds, some are goatherders. One among them even studied hotel management in Malaysia,” officer Satish said.

Remarkably, the ninth individual arrested was police constable Srinivas Rao of the Traffic Division, who was taken into custody despite his protestations that he was not directly involved in the trafficking.

“However, we have evidence that he acted as a facilitator for this illicit trade, including making contact with several persons arrested,” forest officials said.

A case has been booked against the group.

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