A local Odisha court sentenced two people to rigorous imprisonment for six months after finding them guilty of smuggling leopard skin.
It would be the first-ever conviction of wildlife smugglers in the state, obtained by the Special Task Force (STF), a specialized branch of Odisha’s police force created to fight organized crime.
The Khordha Subdivisional Judicial Court (SDJM) on Tuesday found Sudhira Behera and Subash Chandra Behera, both from Nayagarh, guilty under sections 379/411/120 (B) of the IPC r / w Section 51 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 in STF PS No. 11/2021. The court sentenced them to six months in prison with rigor. The court also fined the two defendants.
On the night of February 1 to 2, 2021, STF Bhubaneswar apprehended the two defendants in Bolagarh in Khordha district and recovered a leopard skin in their possession while they were traveling on motorbikes for a deal.
During the investigation, the seized leopard skin was also sent to the Wild Life Institute of India, Dehradun, for biological chemical examination and an opinion was received in the affirmative. After a successful investigation, an indictment was filed against the two defendants in court.
“Wildlife crime remains one of STF’s focus areas and STF will continue to fight wildlife crime and criminals,” the special wing said in a statement.