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Sansar Chand: India's deadliest poacher gets 6-year jail term

Last updated on: August 25, 2010 17:47 IST

Sansar Chand: India's deadliest poacher gets 6-year jail term

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Notorious poacher Sansar Chand was sentenced to six years jail term by a Delhi court on Wednesday, in a case relating to seizure of a leopard skin in 1995, saying such offence should be dealt with "iron hands".

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Digvinay Singh also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on him while awarding the maximum jail term prescribed under the Wildlife Protection Act. The court said the offences relating to wildlife must be dealt with strict punishment to bring down poaching incidents across the country. The court also raised concern over the rising menace of poaching.

"Despite various steps taken by governments across the globe, offences relating to wildlife are refusing to come down. In the Act, stringent punishment is provided which is awarded time and again to contain the offence, but still the situation does not seem to be improving," the court said.

"In my considered view, such repeated offenders need to be dealt with iron hands, more particularly when there have been previous convictions and involvement in other similar offences," the judge noted.

Text: PTI


Image: Confiscated items including leopard skins are on display at the police headquarters in Lucknow
Photographs: Reuters
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India's deadliest poacher gets 6-year jail term

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Sansar Chand was convicted on August 21 for possessing a leopard skin, under Section 51 read with Section 49 (punishment for dealing in skins and materials of endangered species) of the Wildlife Protection Act.

The court, while pronouncing the sentence against him, said that punishment against such convicts should be strict in order to send a message to society.

"The value of skin is not to be taken into consideration by the court at the time of sentence. Whether the skin was of high value or of low value is immaterial as the point is that unless dealing in those skin is stopped completely, hunting is not going to come down," the court said.

During the argument on sentence, Madhur Jain, counsel for the convict, sought a lenient view on the ground that he was ill and has been in jail since 2005.


Image: Policemen hold tiger parts seized from poachers
Photographs: Reuters
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Sansar Chand is known as the 'Veerappan of North India'

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Public Prosecutor Vakil Ahmed, on the other hand, demanded strict punishment against the convict, saying he had been involved in poaching since 1974 when he was convicted for the first time.

"Punishment to the convict should not only be commensurate with the offence committed by him, but it should also act as deterrent not only to the convict but also to others involved in similar wildlife offences," the court said.

The case against Sansar Chand was also pursued by the Wildlife Trust of India, through counsel Saurabh Sharma. Sansar Chand is also facing prosecution under the stringent MCOCA law.

He was arrested after the Delhi police, acting on a tip-off, seized the skin of endangered leopards from his possession that was hidden in a canvas bag in Sadar Bazar area of New Delhi on July 17, 1995. It was his fourth conviction in the several cases lodged against him under the Act.

Sansar Chand's criminal activities have reached such severity that he was called the 'Veerappan of North India'. He is currently lodged in a Jaipur jail in connection with another offence.


Image: Police officers display a tiger skin seized from a poacher
Photographs: Reuters
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