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Prima facie, golfer Jyoti Randhawa committed poaching within sanctuary limits: Officials

If the offence was committed inside the sanctuary area there was a provision of seven years’ imprisonment and the term would come down to three years if poaching was done out of the sanctuary’s limits.

delhi Updated: Dec 28, 2018 08:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
industan Times, Bahraich
jyoti randhawa,golfer jyoti randhawa,sanctuary
Golfer Jyoti Randhawa(HT File)

A day after golfer Jyoti Randhawa and ex-Navy officer Mahesh Birajdar were arrested for poaching in Bahraich, forest officials are trying to ascertain the spot where the offence was committed as it would be crucial in deciding the quantum of punishment, a senior officer said.

Field director, Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR), Ramesh Kumar Pandey who reached the sanctuary on Thursday to investigate the case and collect evidence, said prima facie it appeared that the offence was committed inside the sanctuary.

“Preliminary investigation suggests that Randhawa entered the sanctuary with Italian mastiff dogs early in the morning for two consecutive days. It seems that the offence was committed inside the sanctuary,” he said.

Pandey said if the offence was committed inside the sanctuary area there was a provision of seven years’ imprisonment and the term would come down to three years if poaching was done out of the sanctuary’s limits.

Pandey also inspected the spot from where Randhawa was arrested.

“A team of officials is collecting all the evidences. They have been instructed to keep a strict vigil in and around the sanctuary to check poaching and smuggling of animals. Most of the sections of the Wildilfe Protection Act and the Indian Forest Act invoked against Randhawa and Birajdar are non-bailable,” he added.

Meanwhile, jail authorities said Randhawa and Birajdar calmly spent their first night in jail.

Jail superintendent AN Tripathi said Randhawa and Birajdar were provided breakfast and meals according to the jail menu which they took without any demand. “Randhawa’s father brigadier (retd) Ranjeet Singh Randhawa visited him on Thursday afternoon,” he added.

“Randhawa has been lodged in barrack no. 10-C and is being treated as a common prisoner. Randhawa is behaving very politely with the jail staff. Like other prisoners, blanket and bed has been provided to him. He has made no special demand from jail authorities,” Tripathi said.

The arrests took place in Motipur range of Katarniaghat, a wildlife sanctuary in UP’s gangetic plains. A sports utility vehicle, a .22 rifle, hide of a sambhar deer, a hunted red jungle fowl, binoculars, a high-beam torch and 80 live cartridges were seized from their possession.

A case under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Indian Forest Act, 1927, was registered against Randhawa and Birajdar. Later, the magistrate cancelled their bail application and sent them to 14-day judicial custody.

First Published: Dec 28, 2018 08:54 IST