Jalpaiguri (West Bengal) [India], August 17 (ANI): Belacoba forest rangers seized one full adult leopard skin and two red panda skins from the Belacoba forest range under Baikunthapur forest division in Jalpaiguri district, and arrested three Nepali nationals.
The forest officials team headed by Sanjay Dutta Range Officer of MPP-I Range acted on information passed to them from their sources and nabbed the alleged smugglers last night.
According to the forest officials, they intercepted a Nepal-numbered motorbike based on reliable information near North Bengal University campus on National Highway.
They were able to get hold of the three accused, however, one accused managed to escape.
During the investigation, it was discovered that the accused persons were going to deliver the skins' to the Indo-Bhutan border area more particularly Phuntshilling (near Jaygaon) for a sum of Rs 30 lakh. It was supposed to be smuggled to Bhutan through the Siliguri corridor.
The accused persons collected the Wildlife Articles from Taplejung, Dist Mikwakhola, Nepal, and were supposed to deliver them to Bhutan Counterpart to a Chinese customer.
The accused people have been identified as Chandra Prakash Chemjong (35), Gobinda Samba Limbu(25), and Yakpu Sherpa(37) residents of Nepal.
Hari Krishnan, DFO, Baikinthapur forest division said over the phone, "A team of Belacoba rangers intercepted three persons riding a Nepal number plated bike and during the search operation, they were found with the illegal smuggle items. We are trying to gather more information and are handing them over to Jalpaiguri district court today.
The accused have been charged for contravening sec 9,39,44,49B, punishable under section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. (ANI)