Leopard skin trade mastermind nabbed

Posted by: Hitesh Kamaliya on

Palanpur: The prime accused in the wild animal skin trading scam, which had been busted in a Sabarkantha village after a forest department sting operation on April 1, has been arrested.

Babu Savaji Modiya, who was on the run since the busting of the scam, was arrested by the forest department from his native village Gadi Vankada in the district on April 15. After a day's remand, he was produced in a judicial court of Vijaynagar on April 17, which sent him to judicial custody, said MJ Parmer, deputy conservator of forests, Sabarkantha. "On tip off, a forest department team with the help of local police nabbed Modhiya from his house," said range forest officer, Vijaynagar BV Shisodia.

Modhiya was on the run since the arrests of his associates Lakshman Patel of Ahmedabad, Prakash Patel, a driver with forest department in Vijaynagar, Shyamji Patel, a land broker in Amreli and Deepak Parmar, a Nadiad district education office clerk. All five were caught by forest officials selling a leopard skin during an under-cover operation carried out by the department in Vijaynagar, but Modhiya had managed to escape.

Furthermore, Shisodia said that Modiya, during his interrogation admitted to his involvement in the hunting of big cats. Babu has had a criminal record and there are still some cases, including murder, booked against him and in court. Modhiya was arrested under sections 9, 51 and 52 of the Wildlife Act.