“We hit a tiger on the head with a heavy stone to kill it. A bullet shot leaves holes in the skin and decreases its value,” says Kittu, a dreaded poacher in the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh region, while giving details of his modus-operandi.
His arrest on Tuesday may help the CBI unearth important details of a poaching and trafficking network in the Southeast Asia region.
Kittu was arrested on Tuesday from his hideout in MP and admitted to have bludgeoned to death two tigers for a sum of Rs 3 lakh. Described as a “prized catch” by a CBI source who was involved in his arrest, Kittu is allegedly a vital cog of an inter-state, poaching-cum-trafficking network specialising in the sale of tiger skin and its other body parts in India, Nepal, China and Southeast Asia.
“Each tiger kill could fetch around Rs 4 crore in the international grey market. Kittu’s primary concern was always to ensure that the tiger skin stayed perfect and not punctured,” a source said.
Kittu’s revelations may help the agency in nabbing those responsible for five cases of killings of tigers at the 1,646-sq km Melghat Tiger Project forest in Amravati district of Maharashtra as part of its probe, a source said. His disclosures have already widened the CBI probe’s ambit. “We were probing the killings of five tigers, but Kittu’s accounts reveal that six tigers were killed at Melghat since 2012,” the source said.