Karnataka Astrologer Arrested for Possessing Illegal Blackbuck and Tiger Skins, Claws at Home
Tiger skin, claws, seized from raid in Karnataka astrologers's home in Vijaypur | Image credit: IANS
In an important bust, forest officials arrested an astrologer in Karnataka's Vijaypura earlier this week on Wednesday after it seized illegal tiger and blackbuck skins besides tiger claws from his house.
Following the bust, forest officials warned that even possessing skins can incur the same punishment as hunting endangered animals or dealing in animal parts such as claws.
Acting on a tip-off, the forest officials raided the house of Mahesh Hiremath, who is said to be an astrologer and allegedly involved in the acts of black magic, in Vijaypura, and made the seizures.
Speaking to IANS from Vijaypura, which is over 500 km from Bengaluru, District Forest Officer Ashok Patil, who had led the raid, said that this could be the first case of seizure of tiger skin and claws in the district.
"Two more persons are involved in this crime and had possibly procured and sold the skin to Mahesh. We have launched a search operation to nab them," he said.
Patil said that a case has been registered under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which provides for up to seven years imprisonment.
While tigers are a highly protected wildlife species in India, poaching of tigers for skin and claws is a commonly reported crime in several parts of the country. Poachers hunt these big cats for their skin, teeth, and claws, all of which sell for luxurious prices in the black market for trafficked and illegal animal parts.
Busting poachers wares has also helped the government add to its coffers through confiscations. In April 2019, a special CBI court in Delhi ordered the confiscation of over Rs 57 lakh from two tiger skin traders from Maharashtra who had earned the lucrative amount by trafficking tiger parts.
(With inputs from IANS)