Wildlife don sentenced to five years in jail
The kingpin of Indian wildlife traders, Sansar Chand, was sentenced to five years in jail by a court in Ajmer, Rajasthan.
The kingpin of Indian wildlife traders, Sansar Chand, was sentenced to five years in jail by a court in Ajmer in the western state of Rajasthan.
Sansar Chand was sentenced by Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Ajmer Ravi Sharma for possessing two leopard skins. The main accused in the case, Balwan Singh, who was acting on behalf of Chand, also received a similar sentence. Three other persons received lesser punishments.
This is the strongest punishment to be awarded under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 to any person for trading in wildlife parts. The law mandates a compulsory sentence of three years for offences against any Schedule 1 species. The sentence can be stretched to seven years for repeated offences.
Sansar Chand is a member of a tribe of traditional traders in wildlife from western India called Giharas. Though not hunters themselves, Giharas are close to other traditional hunter tribes who are responsible for much of the poaching that feeds the illegal market. He was first arrested in 1974 at the age of 18 for trading in tiger skins but the Supreme Court reduced his sentence, saying he was too young to be sentenced. He then went on to become the biggest skin smuggler in India.