A 33-year-old former Hindu College student, who headed an interstate wildlife trafficking gang, was arrested from Delhi on Monday night.
Police said Akash Chand is the son of Sansar Chand - known as the Veerappan of the North for having poached wild animals, including tigers in Sariska, for over three decades.
Police said after Chand’s death in 2014, Akash was running the interstate racket with his mother Rani.
Akash was arrested by a crime branch team from Paharganj in Central Delhi, where he had come to meet his relatives. Police sources said this was the fifth time they had received information about Akash, who had gave them the slip in the past.
Joint commissioner of police RS Yadav said they had received a request from their Jaipur counterparts to arrest Akash, against whom a non-bailable warrant had been issued by a local court.
Akash’s anticipatory bail petition had been rejected by the Rajasthan high court.
“Our officers received information about Akash visiting Paharganj. When the team went there, a mob gathered at the spot and refused to hand him over. The police team was attacked. They even bit head constable Hamender and constable Pankaj’s hands and pelted stones at the police party,” said Yadav.
The police party asked for reinforcement. A team from the local police station reached the spot and filed a separate case against Akash’s family members.
Akash’s name cropped up during the interrogation of two men in Rajasthan last year who were arrested with leopard skins, said an investigating officer.
Police approached a court and a warrant was issued against him. Investigating officers said that in all these years, Akash and his mother Rani were running their operations from Delhi. Their role was to identify the clients and contact poachers in Rajasthan. Akash’s mother – presently out on bail – was arrested in the same case in May.
Police said the family ran a mobile phone shop in Karol Bagh as a cover. “We have handed him to the Rajasthan police. They will interrogate him,” an officer said.
Akash told police that in 2014, after his father died of cancer, he took over the business. Akash was then studying BCom at DU’s Hindu College. He has been arrested once in 2004 after leopard nails were seized from him. His mother was also arrested in the same case and spent a year and a half in prison.