Bhubaneswar, Feb. 24: A joint eight-member team of police crime branch and forest officials claimed to have busted a poaching gang after arresting three persons from a city hotel and seizing leopard skin and ivory from them.
The sleuths struck a deal with the unsuspecting poachers feigning as customers for an ivory weighing 14.3 kg and a 6-ft-long leopard skin.
Satkosia forest division divisional forest officer Susanta Nanda acted as a Calcutta-based trader and paid Rs 20,000 as advance. The deal was fixed at Rs 14,000 per kg.
“The telephones of the arrested persons were tapped,” said an officer on condition of anonymity. After two days, the officials arrested Prafulla Raut, Salim Khan and Seikh Majbur Rahman while they were finalising the “deal” at the hotel this morning and seized the ivory and the leopard skin that bore two gunshot wounds.
It seems to be the handiwork of a highly professional gang, said B.K. Sharma, IG (crime branch).