Express news service: Nagpur.

The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Anil Naik, prime accused in the Washim district blackbuck poaching case.

Naik, a relative of Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration Minister Manohar Naik, had allegedly killed the animal between Jambharun and Kalajamba vllages of Washim district on July 16th.
Villagers of Jambharun had reportedly rushed to the spot after hearing a gunshot and had nabbed Naik and his accomplices. Villagers later reportedly handed them over along with the killed animal to the Ansing police.

The police, however, had later released the offenders due to political pressure, wildlife NGO Satpuda Foundation had alleged. The NGO had also alleged that the villagers who had caught hold of the culprits had later retracted their statement under political pressure.

However, due to constant media pressure, a probe was ordered. On July 24th, one of the accused, Yasin Shah Gulzar of Wara-jahangir, was arrested. Anil Naik and three others, all residents of Gahuli in Pusad, had applied for anticipatory bail through their lawyers and had denied involvement in poaching.

However, on July 30th, the Additional District and Sessions Court of Washim had rejected the bail application. Naik, however, continued to evade arrest.

On August 9th, Naik, who had been absconding, finally approached the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court for bail. The HC granted him conditional interim bail till August 28th 2012. HC also ordered that the accused should personally remain present before investigation officer Assistant Conservator of Forest V G Tehre on August 21st and 23rd to give his submission.

The Forest Department investigation team found that three policemen Pratap Singh Chauhan, Ramesh Chauhan and Tulsiram Khandare had aided the accused and hence were made co-accused. They, however, continued to dodge the Forest Department team.

Finally, the team caught up with constable Ramesh Chauhan on August 22nd. But before it could record his statement, he fled and took shelter at his aide Khandare's house. The team didn't enter the house since it didn't have a warrant and hence approached the Ansingh police station for help, but in vain. The same evening, wife of Khandare lodged a complaint of molestation against the Forest team. The police then officially objected to the Forest Department investigating team.

On August 24th, Naik finally surrendered his rifle and Tata Sumo vehicle to the Investigating officer. The rifle licence was found in the name of accused Anil Madhukar Naik. The vehicle, however, was yet to be registered with the RTO.

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