The court of additional chief judicial magistrate (CJM), Hoshiapur, has framed charges against the then Pathankot sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Punit Goyal, now posted as ADC (development) in SAS Nagar, and two of his accomplices in a 2004 peacock poaching case.
As per information, the charges have been framed against the officer under sections 9 (prohibition of hunting), 40 (recovery of body of any bird or animal), 48-A (transportation of bodies) and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
On February 29, 2004, Goyal, posted as Pathankot SDM, was arrested for poaching in the forests of Narur area in Hoshiarpur district along with Mohinder Pal Bhola of Hambran village near Tanda and Makhan Singh of Pathankot.
A report was filed by the department of forests and wildlife in this regard. It said two peahens, four dead partridges, a licensed .12 bore gun and live cartridges were found in the jeep used by the accused.
The tip-off in this connection to the forest officials was given by then honorary wildlife warden Gunraj Singh Saini of Hoshiarpur and Sukhdeep Singh Bajwa of Gurdaspur. The then district forest officer RR Kakkar and range officer Kulraj Singh laid a trap on February 29, 2004.
Saturday has been set as the next date of hearing. The case has seen a number of twists such as the Punjab and Haryana high court providing security to honorary wardens who continue to pursue the case even as when the state was not showing interest in it.