The Jabalpur Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court recently rejected the second bail application of the applicant accused of illegal hunting of wildlife animals and selling of their body parts and skins.
The applicant, Dhyan Singh was arrested on February 14 this year in connection with a case registered at S.T.F., Forest Department, Jabalpur for the offences punishable under Sections 9, 39, 44, 48-A, 49-B, 50, 51, 52, 57 of the Wild Life Protection Act. The first bail application filed by the applicant was dismissed as withdrawn by the High Court vide order dated March 31,2021.
As per prosecution case on February 10, 2021 , on the information of an informant that some persons were standing on Kundam Sirauli road near, first turn of the Hiran river the officials of Tiger Strike Force, Jabalpur, Sagar & Bhopal, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Jabalpur and Special Task Force, Jabalpur along with other members of the force went to the spot, where they saw six persons were standing there and one car was also parked there. Members of the task force surrounded them from all sides. On being asked they disclosed their names as applicant Dhyan Singh and co-accused Abhishek @ Manish Kumar, Arvind Vishwakarma, Mohammad Saied, Ketki @ Rinki Uike and Tirath.
On searching the car, one skin of leopard and 7.300 kg scales of Pangolin were found in the car, which was illegally kept by them in their possession. On interrogation co-accused Abhishek @ Manish informed that co-accused Javed and Mausam Singh are also standing at village Rangaon, Shahpura with intent to sell skin of leopard. Then members of the task force went to village Rangaon and apprehended the co-accused Javed, Mausam Singh and Lamu Singh and seized one skin of leopard from the possession of applicant Javed.
On interrogation, Mausam Singh Maravi informed that co-accused Lamu Singh gave that skin to him. On interrogation, co-accused Lamu Singh informed that co-accused Prem Singh Saiyam gave that skin to him. The STF registered the case and investigated the matter.
During investigation on 13/02/2021 on the information of co-accused Mohd. Saied member of task force intercepted a car on Parasi Shahdol road, near village Murki, in which co-accused Kamal Prasad Yadav, Sanjay Janghela and Gendalal Vanwasi were traveling and seized one skin of leopard from that car, which was illegally kept by co-accused persons in that car and also arrested co-accused Kamal Prasad Yadav, Sanjay Janghela and Gendalal Vanwasi.
During further investigation, on 13.02.2021 on the information of co accused Abhishek @ Manish and Javed Mansoori member of task force went to Katni Bypass road near Chandiya Kathli river main road and apprehended co-accused Kamal Bhan Singh @ Bhole Singh, Gulab Singh, Ramesh Baiga and Debua Bega who were standing their and seized Pangolin scales from their possession which was illegally kept by them in their possession.
On February 14 during further investigation on the information of applicant Dhayn Singh and co-accused Ketki Bai @ Rinki member of Task force went to co-accused Ketki Bai’s house located at village Bhaiswahi, Distt. Katni and seized the skin of a leopard from her house. On March 04, 2021 members of Tiger Strike Force went to the field of co-accused Ram Singh located at Sathiya Tola, village Bhaiswahi and arrested him. On interrogation co-accused Ram Singh informed that 10-15 days ago co-accused Mithai Lal, Munna, Rajaram Barman, Mukesh Thakur, Vakil Thakur and Ram Kumar hunted one leopard by electrocution and after removing its skin buried other body parts of leopard in the field. Members of the force also seized that body part of leopards from the field at the instance of co-accused Ram Singh.
A.K. Dwivedi, Counsel for the applicant submitted that the applicant is innocent and has been falsely implicated in the matter. Nothing has been recovered from the possession of the applicant. The applicant has no criminal past. He has been in custody since 10/02/2021. The charge-sheet has been filed and conclusion of trial will take time, hence prayed for release of applicant on bail.
On the other hand, Santosh Yadav Counsel for the State opposed the prayer and submitted that the applicant was a member of the organized gang and the applicant and other members of that gang were indulged in the hunting of wild animals and selling their body parts and skins. Applicant confesses his guilt before forest officials and the confessional statement of an accused recorded by the forest official is admissible against him in evidence, because the forest officer is not a police officer. Forest officials also seized one skin of a leopard from the possession of the applicant.
He further submitted that forest officials seized four leopard skins and 7.300 kg. scales of the pangolin, from the possession of the applicant and other co-accused persons, so he should not be released on bail.
A Single Bench of Justice Rajeev Kumar Dubey while considering the bail application held that it is alleged that the applicant along with other co-accused persons was indulged in the illegal hunting of wildlife animals and selling of their body parts and skins and Forest Officials also seized one skin and 7.300 kg. scales from the joint possession of the applicant and co-accused.
“So looking to the facts and circumstances of the case and the contention of the learned counsel of the State, this Court is not inclined to grant bail to the applicant”, said the Court while rejecting the bail application.