Seventeen persons were arrested on the charge of killing a leopard and attempting to sell its skin in the city. The police learnt that the big cat was electrocuted to death by them.
According to the Rachakonda police, four of the accused — Anil, Srinivas, Jyothiram and Jaggaram — are residents of Kadem mandal in Adilabad, who caught the leopard by laying an electric trap. The animal was electrocuted in March when it came to drink from a waterhole in the forests of Birsaipet in Utnoor. The poachers then skinned the animal with an aim to sell the skin at a hefty price. They got in touch with 13 others (since booked) to find customers for the skin.
The police said that for three months the accused had been looking for customers in Hyderabad and elsewhere in the State, hoping to sell the skin for over ₹25 lakh. Six of the accused were nabbed when the Rachakonda police found the skin in a vehicle that was stopped at a check post in Ghatkesar last Thursday. Their arrest led to Monday’s arrest of the others. All the accused were booked under the Indian Penal Code and the Wildlife Protection Act.