The Udaipur police on Monday claimed to have arrested three more persons, including the mastermind, in connection with the recovery of two panther skins a few days ago.
The police have already arrested four persons in the case including the two poachers held with the two panther skins by the Hathipol police on May 5. The Monday arrests come following the information given by the arrested persons to the police during their interrogation.
Deputy superintendent of police (west zone) Gopal Singh Bhati said that the mastermind, Satyavan Bhawri, was arrested from Hisar in Haryana, while the two poachers, Krishan alias Kanha and Ramesh, were arrested from their native village Kelwada in Rajsamand district.
Satyavan has told the police that he had sold four panther skin in international market through international smuggler Sansar Chand, who died last year, Bhati said.
Krishan and Ramesh were introduced to Satyavan by their associate, Jitaram, who was arrested in the case on May 8.
“Satyavan motivated them (Krishan and Ramesh) to kill panthers for their skin and promised them `2,000 for each skin they gave him. However, they had some dispute over the payment and the two then got in touch with Prabhu Lal and Ganesh Nagda for selling skin. The poachers supplied two skin to Prabhu Lal and Ganesh Nagda, who were arrested by the Hathipol police on May 5,” Bhati said.
The poachers have confessed to having hunted panthers for their skin, he added.
Satyavan has told the police that he was in the trade of selling animal skin for more than three years.
Earlier, his brother Balwan was arrested by the Ajmer police with two panther skin onboard a train. He had told the cops that he purchased the skin from one Bhura of Kunwaria village, the deputy SP said.
The officer said that Satyavan ran the skin smuggling racket in the guise of selling shawls. “He used to visit villages on the periphery of forests in the name of selling shawls and motivate people to poach panthers to get a good price and protect their cattle from the predator,” the police officer added.
The police are now interrogating all the accused to bust the entire network of poachers and smugglers in Rajasthan, Bhati said.