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Pune police arrest three men for trying to sell endangered pangolin in Katraj

They were found at 2:45 pm near the Katraj junction hotel located on the Pune-Bangalore highway

pune Updated: Jan 31, 2019 16:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,crime,Pune police
With court’s permission, the pangolin will be kept with the forest authorities after which it will be freed.(HT/PHOTO)

Three men were arrested by Pune police on Tuesday night for possession of a giant pangolin which they intended to sell.

The men were identified as Yogesh Shivaji Bondekar (24), from Velhe, Vitthal Ankur Dhagare (26), a resident of Purandar and Arun Suresh Kusalkar (25), a resident of Chinchwad and a native of Dhule in Maharashtra, according to the police. They were found at 2:45 pm near the Katraj junction hotel located on the Pune-Bangalore highway.The police are on a lookout for two others who were going to buy the pangolin from them.

“We found them at 2:45 pm. They had caught the animal from the forest areas in Satara. They are labourers who do whatever work they can get. With court’s permission, the pangolin will be kept with the forest authorities after which it will be freed,” said senior police inspector Vishnu Pawar of Bharati Vidyapeeth police station.

The animal is estimated to be worth around Rs 70 lakh in the international market, according to the police. The animal was found to be 9.2kg in weight and 128 cm in length. The police took help of wildlife experts Sakharam Buchade and Swati Khedkar for investigation in the case. Bhaktu Navnath Nighot, deputy director of Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park was also present during the investigation.

The local police received information that four to five people will be arriving in Katraj for smuggling of a rare animal. The police set a trap and arrested them after checking and locating a rare species of pangolin in the trunk of the car. The men were driving a white colour Accent car.

A case under Sections 9, 39, 48(a) and 51 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 was registered at Bharati Vidyapeeth police station.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 16:07 IST