In a major development, two accused were arrested on Tuesday, in the spotted deer poaching case that took place in Mahadevpur in Telangana’s Jayashankar-Bhupalpally district.
According to reports, Akbar Khan, who is the prime accused in the incident that took place on March 19, was also arrested.
TNIE reported that five people had been arrested so far, and the police have seized one licensed rifle, 18 rounds and three cellphones from Akbar’s house.
The Times of India reported that Akbar was a local TRS leader, and the husband of the ruling Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency (ZPTC) leader in Mahadevpur.
However, Akbar alleged that he was being framed by a faction in his party, the TOI report added.This comes days after a mandal level TRS leader was also reportedly detained earlier at Telangana’s Peddapalli area, for his alleged involvement in the case.
N Gattaiah, was one of the nine accused in the case that the police have identified.
On the night of March 19, two spotted deer were found dead in the trunk of a car in Palimela forest area in Telangana’s Mahadevpur mandal.
According to reports, Forest Department officials got a tip-off and intercepted a car for checking, only to be threatened at gunpoint by the poachers.
The team stopped the vehicle and tried to check it, but a person in the vehicle came out with a long weapon covered with a towel and threatened to shoot them.
The accused then got back into the car and tried to escape, and were chased by the forest officials for a few kilometres. Following this, they abandoned the car and fled.
The officials found the carcasses of two spotted deer – one male, and one pregnant female.
Mahadevpur forest range officer (FRO) B Ramesh had earlier said that the carcasses had bullet injuries and their necks were slit. He also added that a knife and an Aadhaar card were seized from the vehicle.
Following this, a post-mortem was conducted, and a case was registered under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act.
On March 25, police arrested the main accused N Satyanarayana, a former employee of Singareni and two hunters, besides seizing weapons and ammunition from them.
It was also reported that Satyanarayana’s son was an inspector with the Telangana State police.
Besides Kattaiah, the police also named Mohammed Akbar Khan. Police have now claimed that Akbar will aid several friends of his, to poach and hunt wild animals in the area, using his political influence.
The name of a Telangana minister’s son was also doing the rounds as an accused in the case.
In fact, with the alleged involvement of the TRS leaders, the issue also took a political twist.
BJP MLAs Chintala Ramachandra Reddy, NVSS Prabhakar and Kishen Reddy met PK Jha, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, as well as Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma, demanding quick action in the case.
Following this, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao reportedly told officials to speed up the probe and solve it at the earliest.
In fact, the incident has exposed the larger problem of illegal hunting and the demand for meat of these animals in the two Telugu states.
“The well oiled network of tribals-hunters and traders in Telangana and AP accounts for a minimum sale of 10 tonnes of wild meat of deer and black buck and two tonnes of skins every quarter,” a senior forest department official told Firstpost.