Notorious poacher and smuggler Sansar Chand, considered responsible for killing all the tigers in Rajasthan’s Sariska tiger reserve, was acquitted in a case on Monday for lack of evidence. Upset conservationists declared it would boost the morale of poachers across the country.
Chand was absolved of all charges in a case dating back to 2005 by an Alwar court. He had been accused of buying and illegally transporting a panther skin. The court held that the prosecution had failed to prove when the panther was killed and when its skin came to Chand, said his counsel Ashok Sharma.
Chand faced 21 cases in seven states, but he has been acquitted in at least 13 for lack of evidence. Last week, a Delhi court refused to invoke Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act against him.
“Once out of jail, Sansar Chand would revive his international connections. It would be a setback for conservation,” said Dharmendra Khandal, conservation biologist with Ranthambhore-based Tiger Watch Foundation.
“It is believed Chand is carrying out his activities from inside the jail. Once out, he will get a free hand,” said Mahendra Singh Kachhawa, Rajasthan government’s additional counsel for forest and wildlife.