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DRI officials claim top cartel busted after 17 hr raid unearths skins, skulls

Mall Today
New Delhi
1 May 2017

The strong arm of the law finally caught up with a retired Indian Army colonel and his national level shooting champion son for training their guns on protected wildlife. In a joint raid operation that lasted 17 hours at the duo`s residence in Meerut`s Civil Lines area, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the forest department on Sunday claimed to have smashed a cartel of poaching, wildlife hunting and arms smuggling.

Col (retd) Devindera Kumar and his son Prashant Bishnoi, a trained shooter, now face a slew of charges under wildlife protection act and gunrunning.

Local residents told Mail Today the father son duo led a layish lifestyle with a fleet of luxury vehicles and collection of guns.

The raiding team recovered a large haul of animal skins, antiers, trophy heads, ivory, over 40 unlicensed guns, 1 crore in cash and 117 kilogram of neelgai (blue bull) meat from the premises.

Who could have thought of such illegal activity here? There is a woman police station nearby and a DIG living barely 500 metre away. said a local resident, requesting anonymity.

Apparently, they duo had also installed cctv cameras on the street leading to the police and raiding party that the guns belonged to his son, police sources said he was tight-lipped about the recovery of animal parts on his premises.

While members of the search team shunned the media. Source in the DRI and wildlife department said the next round of investigation will establish the supply chain for the animal found from the house.

Wildlife officials have hinted the involvement of a foreign national as the main accused running a poaching syndicate in which kumar and Bishnoi acted as influential clogs due to their official positions.

The support staff and vising maid, who were questioned by the raiding party, also refused to speak to media person gathered outside the Kumar house.

Mail Today also tried to speak to relatives of Singh as well as his son shooting colleagues but to little avail.

Meanwhile, chief conservator of forests Mukesh Kumar issued a statement saying that the meat recovered from the refrigerator at Singh Meerut residence will be sent for laboratory tests.

A sample was taken and it will be sent to laboratory for testing. Action will be taken against Singh and his Son under relevant provision of the wildlife protection Act, 1972

The case comes at a time when Uttar Prades Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has tightened the leash on illegal slaughtering of animal and unauthorized meat trade in the state.

Interestingly, Bishnois are regarded as crusaders for protection of animal. The community was in the limelight for fighting the case against killing of blackbuck by Bollywood celebration in Rajasthan.