NASHIK: In the raid of Shahapur Forest Divison, 11 accused were arrested for smuggling leopard skin. The Shahapur forest officials have confiscated another leopard skin after investigating suspects. The leopard skin has been recovered from Murbad. The arrested suspects are from Trimbakeshwar, Igatpuri, Shahapur, Jawhar, Kalyan and other places. The investigating official have suspected a big racket behind this.
Now, the number of arrests in this case has increased to 11. It include 6 persons from Igatpuri taluka and two persons from Trimbakeshwar taluka of the Nashik district. This has created a stir in Nashik district. The forest officials are keeping the information at minimum and are investigating the matter On January 19, the Shahapur Forest Department set a trap on a tip-off that wild leopard skins were being traded in the vicinity of Mauje Vashala village in the forest reserve.
In this trap, Prakash Chaudhary, a Range Forest Officer of Shahapur, and Santosh Jagdale, a wildlife lover, approached the accused as fake customers. The accused decided to change their meeting place from Vashala to meet at Ghatandevi temple area in Igatpuri taluka. There the suspect shown a video on leopard skin and told that he wanted to sell it.
Accordingly, on February 2, it was decided to meet at Ghatan Devi temple area. Immediately after this, the place was changed to Ghoti Sinnar Road near Ubhade village in Igatpuri taluka. Accordingly, under the guidance of Vasant Ghule, Deputy Conservator of Forests of Shahapur and Amol Jadhav, Assistant Conservator of Forest Vishal Godde, investigation is being carried out by RFO Prakash Chaudhary.