JAIPUR: A group of 19 people from Jaipur’s Ramganj and Johari Bazaar areas was arrested on charges of poaching in Ranthambore National Park, Sawai Madhopur early on Sunday.
Forest department’s Cobra teams – formed to keep a watch on poachers in the park-seized a gypsy, two bikes, a scooter, about two kg fish, nets, knives and other equipment from their possession.
Officials said the group claimed they were fishing in the Banas River. However, with regular movement of at least two big cats in the area, their intention of causing harm to the animals cannot be ruled out.
All the 19 have been booked under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
“We got a tip-off about presence of some people in the Dang Doodhbhat area near Kailadevi Sanctuary in the Ranthambore National Park’s compartment number-16,” said Y K Sahu, divisional forest officer (DFO), Ranthambore.
Four teams soon swung into action. “During investigation, we found that the men belonged to Walled City area in Jaipur and had come to the park via Gangapur,” he added.
Those arrested are Mohammed Jaquir, Mohammed Sahid, Abdul Nasir, Saliuddin, Mohammed Ishaq, Mohammed Ali, Nasir Ahmed, Mohammed Yasin, Mohammed Rafeeq, Mohammed Haseen, Mohammed Asif, Mohammed Sareef, Mohammed Javed, Mohammed Raheem, Mohammed Salim, Adbul Kabeer and Basiuddin.
All of them fall in the age bracket of 27-45 years. While the department is yet to check on their background, but officials said most of them are involved in coloured stone business.
The Cobra team members were taken aback to find sharp-edged weapons from their possession. “They tried to escape but were arrested,” Sahu added.
Forest officer Ravindra Singh Kala, who is investigating the case, said, “Their presence in the area is highly suspicious. It is being investigated if they had come on a fun trip or for some other reasons,” he said.