Leader of a tiger poaching gang arrested near Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

CHANDRAPUR: Mul police have finally nabbed the long absconding kingpin of the poachers gang busted by forest officials around one-and-half years back in Bhadrawati tehsil. Accused Shalik Gedam was picked up from Doni village in Mul tehsil and has been sent into MCR. Forest officials are likely to seek his custody after cops produce him before Bhadrawati court on Monday.

Notably, sleuths of Bhadrawati forest range had busted a poachers gang in March 2009. The first breakthrough came thanks to the tip-off given by Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). Following the information, then RFO, Bhadrawati, Umesh Dhotekar had nabbed two persons – Praful Shedmake from Kolsa within TATR and Hanuman Jumnake from Saywan village located on the outskirts of the tiger reserve on Ghodpeth-Bhadrawati road and had recovered 10 tiger nails from them.

Following the information given by arrested accused raids were carried on Zari village located on the boundary of TATR and another accomplice Jalpat Kumre was arrested. Bunch of antler and wire snares were seized from Kumre’s house. He had confessed to providing the tiger nails to Shedmake and Jumnake for selling.

The next raid in Doni, also located at the outskirt of TATR, on the basis of information spilled the three accused revealed the gravity of the crime this poacher’s gang was engaged in. Forest officials had recovered three molar teeth and two collar bones of the tiger, three trophies of spotted deer with the skull, six fallen antlers and 100 wire traps from the residence of accused Shalik Gedam. He however managed to elude the forest officials and was absconding since then.

After thorough investigation into the case officials of Bhadrawati forest range had filed a chargesheet against the four accused including Shalik Gedam and the court has issued non-bailable warrant against him. While all the efforts of forest officials to round up absconding Gedam proved futile over the course next few months, they transferred the warrant against Gedam to Mul tehsil.

Lady luck smiled upon Mul police on Friday last, when cops got a tip-off about the presence of Gedam in Doni and he was rounded up in the same evening. Later cops produced him before the court the following day and he was sent into magisterial custody remand till Monday.

Acting RFO, Bhadrawati, Arun Tikhe confirmed the arrest of Gedam. “Mul police have arrested Gedam. We will seek his custody and hope to get important information about the gang,” said Tikhe.

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