In a first, five people remanded to police custody for flamingo poaching

This is the first time a court has issued an order for police custody for an offence under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, schedule IV (flamingos), said forest officers.

mumbai Updated: Jul 17, 2018 23:35 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
mumbai,flamingo poaching,Borivli
Five persons remanded in police custody for their alleged involvement in flamingo poaching at Malad-Marwe mangroves last week.(Ht Photo)

The Borivli magistrate court on Tuesday remanded five persons in police custody, for their alleged involvement in flamingo poaching at Malad-Marwe mangroves last week.

This is the first time a court has issued an order for police custody for an offence under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, schedule IV (flamingos), said forest officers.

“We told the court that the five accused have possibly killed more than one flamingo in the area. Also, Heman Ramesh, the main accused, is a regular poacher who had a license to keep a gun for sports shooting, but he was carrying a double barrel gun, which is illegal,” said Makarand Ghodke, assistant conservator of forest, state mangrove cell, who argued the case. “We also told the court that the area where they were hunting flamingos was less than 3kms from Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which is a serious offence,” Ghodke said.

The order by the additional chief metropolitan magistrate, accessed by HT, read: “It is submitted that the offence took place near the Borivli National Park and the punishment provided under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, is not less than three years. Considering the nature of the offence, grounds in remand application, I find that custodial interrogation of the accused is necessary.”

“We welcome the court’s decision of recognising that schedule IV, animals and birds such as flamingos, are as important as schedule I. For the first time, such strict orders have been issued. Generally, the accused are let off on bail,” said Ghodke

WHAT HAD HAPPENED?

HT had reported on Monday that six people, residents of Charkop, were arrested on Sunday by forest officials from the state mangrove cell in an attempt to hunt flamingos at Malad-Marwe wetlands last Tuesday. They were spotted around 1.15pm carrying a gun and a gunny bag. NGO Plants and Animals Welfare Society (PAWS-Mumbai) were informed about the incident and they filed complaints with the local police and forest department.

First Published: Jul 17, 2018 23:35 IST