NAGPUR: Washim additional district sessions judge on Wednesday rejected the anticipatory bail applications of main accused Anil Madhukar Naik, nephew of state food and drugs minister Menorah Naik, and three others in the poaching of a blackbuck in Jambharun village.

The blackbuck was poached on the night of July 16th by eight persons. On Tuesday, forest officials had arrested one accused Yasin Shah Gulzar Shah of Warajahangir, who was involved in disposing of the carcass of the animal on the direction of one Bhimrao Chavan.

Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) and investigating officer VG Tehre told TOI that Naik and three others, all residents of Gahuli in Pusad, applied for anticipatory bail through their lawyers and denied involvement in poaching.

However, the court rejected the bail application and has kept the matter for final hearing on July 30th. Meanwhile, accused Shah has been granted police custody remand (PCR) till July 30th. All eight accused - four from Gahuli and four from Shengi - are absconding. Police let them go after learning about Naik's relation.
"We have set up two special squads to nab the culprits but have not been successful as yet," Tehre said.

The blackbuck is listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and there is a provision for up to seven years imprisonment for such wildlife crimes.

Satpuda Foundation, an Amravati-based NGO working for wildlife conservation, has demanded a CBI enquiry assisted by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB). "This has become necessary as both, police and wildlife department, work under the state government, whose minister is misusing his position to scuttle the probe," said Kishor Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation.

Rithe remarked that politicians appear to be more powerful than the Indian Army. Five jawans had on November 25, 2011, brought 34kg meat of blackbuck from a local villager at Barmer (Rajasthan). Later, the divisional forest officer (DFO) had recovered the meat from the army camp. An Army Court of Inquiry in Jhansi had recommended punishment for five jawans of a tank repair unit for allegedly bringing the meat of three poached black bucks to the army camp. They were also booked under the Wildlife Protection Act.

However, in Washim, even 10 days later, all offenders are at large.

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