India: Three months after it was set up, the Uttar Pradesh Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (UPWCCB) has cracked its first case — the brutal killing of a 25-year-old female elephant in Bijnor early this year. Four people have been arrested for the crime, officials said on Wednesday. However, 12 others are still at large.
HV Girish, head of UPWCCB, told TOI that the bureau started its investigation on July 25 after being ordered by the chief wildlife warden of Uttar Pradesh.
“And on September 2, we arrested Aslam, the main accused, and his relatives,Virasat, Nazir and Saukat. While Aslam accidentally shot the elephant dead when he opened fire to scare away a herd that had strayed into his farm in Ramjiwalavillage on the evening of January 15, others chopped the body into several pieces and hid the same in nearby forests to destroy evidence,” he said.
Local villagers were the first to discover the crime, but the brothers allegedly threatened them to keep mum.
Despite the local police being informed, they had closed the case on grounds of lack of evidence.
However, the matter was raked up in March when a local resident anonymously photographed the elephant parts that had still not decomposed and shared the pictures. Subsequently, officials said, UPWCCB took up the case and with the help of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, New Delhi, the special task force of Uttar Pradesh Police and Bijnor police, zeroed on on the spot of crime and recovered five major body pieces, including its head, over weeks.
“The investigation was complicated and all the departments worked together for days to trace the sequence of events because 16 people were involved in the crime. However, with the support of the National Wildlife Crime Bureau and the special task force, we could get down to the hard facts of the crime. All the four brothers were arrested and produced in a court that sent them to judicial custody. The investigation is still on to recover the remains of the elephant,” Girish said.
The four have been booked under sections 9, 39,50, 51 and 66 (hunting, trapping and killing of wild animals) of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and Section 379 of IPC (punishment for theft) as well as the Arms Act. “Efforts are on to nab the other accused in the case,” he added.
(Source: The Times of India)