4 held for trying to sell leopard skin

Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested four youths Monday for allegedly trying to sell a leopard skin for Rs 4 lakh.

Two of the accused are sons of forest department employees and stay in staff quarters inside Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali (East), while the other two are "acquaintances" of forest officials.

Police seized the skin and a car in which the youths allegedly arrived to make a deal.

"Unit 11 of the crime branch received a tip that some people would try to sell skin and other parts of animals in Borivali (East). At 1 pm Monday, a trap was laid near a temple just off the highway in Borivali. At 1.45 pm, four youths arrived there in a Maruti Zen," said DCP (detection 2) Ambadas Pote.

Police identified the arrested accused as Anoop Khaire (27), Prashant Patel alias Pashu (26), Tushar Bagwe (20) and Abhishek Rane (23).

"Patel and Bagwe are sons of forest department employees. The other two are acquainted with forest officials. Once we secure police custody of the accused, we will interrogate them to ascertain whether any forest official is involved," said Pote.

The accused have been booked under sections 39 and 51 of Wildlife Protection Act and will be produced before court on Tuesday.

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