Officials of the Baripada wildlife division with the seized leopard skin. Telegraph picture
Balasore, March 6: Officials of the Baripada wildlife division have arrested two persons, including a known timber smuggler, and seized a leopard skin from them.
The accused persons have been identified as Chittaranjan Pradhan, 50, resident of Kanrali village near Remuna in Balasore, and Gajendra Jena, 42, of Adagugudia vilalge under Kaptipada block of Mayurbhanj district.
Forest range officer Batakrushna Padhi said: "Acting on a tip-off, the raid was conducted, and the accused duo were intercepted near Gadadeulia on the National Highway No. 18. They were produced before court under the Wildlife Protection Act."
Honorary wildlife warden Bhanoomitra Acharya said: "The leopard skin bears a bullet injury. It indicates that poachers have killed the animal. The accused persons revealed the name of the poacher from whom they had procured the skin. Efforts are on to nab him."
A forest official said the accused had been intercepted near Gadadeulia under Baisinga block off the highway. Besides the leopard hide, their motorbike was also seized.
The 207cm long and 60cm wide hide belongs to an adult leopard.
During interrogation, Chittaranjan said he had procured the skin for Rs 25,000 from a poacher from Baniabasha village under Udala block and he was on his way to dispose it of to the buyers.
It was also learnt that Chittaranjan, the prime accused, was a history-sheeter and a known timber smuggler. Earlier, the police had arrested him several times on charges of timber smuggling.