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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Asia's Wildlife Trader Kingpin Jailed!

Sansar Chand, one of Asia's most notorious illegal wildlife traders, directly responsible for the killings of thousands of wild animals, including tigers and leopards - is in jail.

After almost two years of trials and going underground, he has finally been brought to justice. If it were up to me, I would throw away the key to this devil's cell.

Ajmer, 3 January, 2006: For the first time Sansar Chand, the infamous wildlife trader has begun serving a sentence of five years rigorous imprisonment as a convict in Ajmer Central Jail on the pending sentence, which was ordered way back in April 2004 by Ravi Sharma, Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ajmer.

While hearing the case, the appeal court on October 28, 2005 held that he should start serving his previous sentence in Ajmer Central Jail, which was still pending. The court noted that his judicial remands in various jails as under trial were now collectively over six months and that to be adjusted in the total period of the sentence. It also directed the officials not to transfer the convict to other places wanted for crimes without prior permission of the court.

Subsequent to the court’s order Sansar Chand in May 2004 had appealed the Special Court SC/ST, Addl. Secession Judge in Ajmer to set aside the trial court order. The court then accepted his appeal and had ordered him to deposit Rs. 60,000/- as a penalty, and kept his sentence on hold until a final decision was arrived.

However, on this pretext he went underground and never appeared in any of the court summons. Finally, the court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant. A year later in July last year he was arrested from a secret hideout in Delhi and sent to judicial custody in Tihar jail. The Ajmer police who then sought his custody in this case brought him to Ajmer.

Eight others were also convicted in the case when one of the accomplices enroute to Delhi was arrested with two leopard skins in his procession. The case was registered in the Bhilwara police station in Rajasthan.

Despite several cases registered in various states, he had not served a full sentence before. The lone case when he was sentenced to jail was in the mid nineties but the court had to award a half sentence after he was able to plead before the Supreme Court of India that he was juvenile at the time of committing the offence in late eighties.

Dr. M. S. Kachhawa, Legal Counsel of the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) who has been assisting the prosecution said, “The court took cognizance of his prolonged absence from the appeal court and ordered in favor of the sentence passed by the previous court.”

Informed sources revealed that he was involved in several wildlife crimes after his disappearance from the scene and operated from discreet locations in India. His five-year term in Ajmer central jail would help the officials to persue other cases pending against him.

(Wildlife Trust of India)

This man has so much blood on his hands, and has been in operation for decades. He may well have led to the extermination of entire big cat populations around Asia if left to his own devices for much longer. It is an event to celebrate - now I hope the authorities act on this victory and start moving faster to ensure another kingpin doesn't take his place

1 comment:

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