Wildlife trader gets six-year jail
A city court here Wednesday sentenced wildlife trader Sansar Chand to six years imprisonment and fined him Rs.50,000 for possessing a leopard skin.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Special Acts) Digvinay Singh gave the verdict.
Chand was caught red-handed with a leopard skin by the Delhi Police in Sadar Bazar area here in 1995. However, he has been in jail for other wildlife crimes since 2005. He can now appeal to the sessions court challenging the judgment.
‘The ruling set an unprecedented milestone in the history of wildlife crime cases, as he (Chand) got the maximum term mandated by the Wildlife (Protection) Act,’ the NGO Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) said in a statement.
‘We are absolutely thrilled about this development. This is the first instance that any individual has been awarded maximum sentence for wildlife crime in India,’ said Ashok Kumar, vice-chairman of WTI.
‘Although Indian wildlife laws are considered among the best, but very often they are not used to their full potential. This case has marked a beginning and hopefully it will serve as a strong deterrent to wildlife crimes,’ he said.
‘While passing the sentence, the court said such instances need to be dealt with an iron hand. We will continue our work to ensure that the judgment is upheld,’ said WTI’s Saurabh Sharma, who assisted the prosecution.
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