Court rejects bail plea in lion electrocution case

A court on Wednesday dismissed the bail plea of all the four accused in the lion electrocution case and sent them to judicial custody. The court has also given nod to conduct narco-analysis test on the prime accused, says an Indian Express report.

On October 19, forest officials had arrested four accused and booked them under various provision of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The next day, the accused were produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) at Dhari which put them in the custody of Forest Department for three days.

After completion of the remand, the accused were again produced before the court on October 24. The accused are _ Durlabhaji Vadodaria, his son Purshottam, Ravji Hirani and Bhala Parmar.

According to details, prime accused Durlabhaji had put up an electric fence surrounding his agricultural land to protect the standing crop from wild animals. His farm is located on the outskirts of Prempara village, some two km away from Dhari town, where the headquarters of Gir East Forest Division is located.

Five lions, including three lionesses of about 8 to 10 years of age, and two cubs of less than one year of age, were electrocuted and died on the spot. Later in an attempt to destroy the evidences, Durlabhaji and his son Purshottam buried the carcasses with the help of other two accused in their agriculture field.

According to Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir East) J S Solanki, “A total of 88 claws of the five lions were recovered while two claws are still missing. The accused’s possible connection with Madhya Pradesh tribal gang is under scanner.”

Lion is enlisted as Schedule-1 animal under the Wildlife Act, and killing of this wild animal is a non-bailable offence. And the punishment for the offence ranges from three to seven years of imprisonment and with a fine of Rs 25,000, Solanki said.

“We suspect Durlabhaji is hiding the truth. It requires more then half a dozen persons to bury five carcasses. So there may be more than four people involved in this offence,” Solanki said.

The court accepted investigation officer’s plea to conduct prime accused’s narco-analysis test. “We have already intimated the forensic officials for the test, and after receiving the date, we will proceed for accused’s narco-analysis test,” Solanki added.

http://www.wildlifewatch.in/news/378

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