Wildlife activists shocked at jail suspension of Sansar Chand
Friday 25th September, 2009 (IANS)
The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) Friday said it was ‘dismayed’ that the Supreme Court had suspended notorious wildlife criminal Sansar Chand’s jail sentence and ordered that he be ‘enlarged on bail to the satisfaction of the trial court’.
‘We are dismayed by this news,’ said Belinda Wright, WPSI’s executive director, in a statement.
‘His imminent release from prison in Jaipur, coupled with the dismal track record of convictions in wildlife cases, will only hasten the demise of the tiger,’ she stressed.
The Supreme Court by an order dated Aug 24 suspended notorious wildlife criminal Sansar Chand’s jail sentence and ordered that he be ‘enlarged on bail to the satisfaction of the trial court’, WPSI added in the statement.
The petition, WPSI said, sought the permission of the Supreme Court to appeal against the Rajasthan High Court’s judgment of December 2008, which had confirmed the earlier judgment of the trial court.
In April 2004, a trial court in Ajmer had found Sansar Chand guilty of offences under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, and had sentenced him to five years imprisonment.
Sansar Chand had unsuccessfully challenged the judgment, in an appeal followed by a criminal revision petition, in the Rajasthan High Court.
‘He is now looking to the Supreme Court to let him off the hook. While this is the only case in which Sansar Chand is currently undergoing imprisonment for a conviction, he is an accused in several other pending cases in the trial courts. Sansar Chand has been convicted of wildlife offences in two earlier cases in 1982,’ said the statement.
Sansar Chand is believed to be India’s biggest wildlife criminal who has been responsible for more tiger and leopard deaths than anyone else, the WPSI said.
Diaries seized from his family by the Rajasthan police in 2004 allegedly showed transactions of 40 tiger skins and 400 leopard skins, in a period of just 11 months from October 2003 to September 2004.
During interrogation by the CBI in 2006, Sansar Chand apparently admitted to selling 470 tiger skins and 2,130 leopard skins to just four clients from Nepal and Tibet.