PUNE: The anti-dacoity cell of the crime branch on Thursday arrested two persons with a leopard skin worth Rs 7 lakh.
Following a tip-off, the police team led by inspector Satish Govekar laid a trap at Katraj ghat and nabbed Kashinath Kolte (34) and Ravindra Patil (27), both from Kolhapur.
Govekar said, “The officials from the Zoological Survey of India inspected the skin and said that it was of a full grown leopard. The 8×4 feet skin is worth Rs 7 lakh.”
On Thursday afternoon, Govekar received information that two persons from Kolhapur would be coming near a restaurant at Katraj ghat with a leopard skin to sell it. “The informer also gave the number of the motorcycle of the suspects,” Govekar said.
“When we nabbed them, the duo was carrying a cement bag. We found the leopard skin in the bag,” Govekar said.
During interrogation, the suspects said that someone from Kolhapur had given them the skin and told them to sell it in Pune. “We arrested them under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act,” Govekar said. “A case in this regard has been registered at the Bharati Vidyapeeth police station,” he added.
According to the police, Kolte was working as a carpenter in Kolhapur, while Patil used to work in a private courier firm.
The suspects were produced before the court on Friday. Seeking their custody, the police told the court that they wanted to find out whether the duo had brought the skin from someone or they had killed the leopard. The suspects were sent to police custody till February 27.
The investigating team comprised assistant inspector Yashwant Phulwade and constables Nasir Patel, Pradip Shitole, Chetan Mundhe, Santosh Jagtap and Pradip Bhos.