Pune: Two Persons Arrested By Forest Department For Selling Rare Turtles

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Mubarak Ansari

Pune, 1st July 2021: The Forest Department has arrested two persons for allegedly trying to trade in rare turtles. The department has recovered two dead and one alive turtle from their possession.

The arrested persons have been identified as Atharva Shashikant Deshmukh and Shrikrishna Avadhut Vanjari.

Acting on a tip-off received by Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Rahul Patil, a team laid a trap near Mankar Chowk in Wakad on June 29. However, one of the accused who arrived there on a two-wheeler went to a hotel at Maitri Chowk in Sant Tukaram Nagar in Pimpri and the forest department team followed him. After another accused also reached, the team detained them while they were engaged in illegal turtle buying and selling.

Later, the team searched the house of the accused and found two turtles dead and one alive in a small box at Deshmukh’s house. These turtles are a protected species of Schedule Type-1 of Indian Tent Turtle and Indian Roofed Turtle and are a rare species, DCF Patil said.

Accordingly, a case of illegal possession and sale of turtles has been registered against the accused under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. They were produced before Pimpri judicial magistrate court which remanded them in custody till July 3 for further investigation.

This action was taken under the guidance of DCF Rahul Patil by a team comprising Assistant Forest Conservator Mayur Bothe, Bhamburda Forest Range Officer Deepak Pawar, Encroachment Elimination and Protection Forest Range Officer Sachin Raghatwan,  Vanpal Mahesh Mergewad, Vaibhav Babar, Suresh Barle and forest guard Dnyaneshwar Thackeray.