NASHIK: In a shocking case of selling of State Animal, a rare Indian Giant Squirrel or commonly known Shekru, the forest department arrested one and rescued the Shekru . The suspect has been given bail by the magistrate court on Sunday. The forest department has now decided to go in higher court to get custody of the suspect.
The forest department had arrested a suspect named Sourav Ramesh Golait (23, resident of Dassk, Jail Road). The suspect was captured with state animal Skekru in a cage in his pet shop in Mahatma Nagar area. The suspect said that he found the animal injured so he brought it to take care of it and was going to release after. On Saturday, a team from the West Forest Department raided and arrested the shopkeeper and rescued Shekru.
While the wildlife smuggling was a non-bailable offense, the Shekru was kept in a cage for sale at the Sourav Exotic and Aquatic Pet shops. A team of Assistant Forest Conservator Ganesh Jhole and Forest Ranger Vivek Bhadane raided and rescued Shekru and arrested the shop owner, suspect, Sourav Golait.
The suspect arrested has previous criminal records in similar incidents. He was caught with baby crocodiles which he bought for sale. He was similarly caught in a police raid at the time. He has been repeatedly implicated in the smuggling of rare wildlife and has been charged under the Indian Wildlife Conservation Act.
Frequent wildlife crimes by suspect
Suspect Sourav Golait had brought baby crocodile for sale in 2018 when the team caught them red-handed. Eight baby crocodile and two turtles were seized during the operation. A case was registered against Sourav and one of his accomplices.