Cuttack: A special squad of officials from Athagarh Forest Division arrested a most-wanted poacher of elephants, Babuli Mahalik (45), from his native village at Durgaprasad near Kanapur in Cuttack district on Saturday night.
Athagarh Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sasmita Lenka on Sunday said that Babuli is a habitual poacher and he has admitted to have killed around 20 elephants in Boudh, Nayagarh and Dhenkanal forest divisions in the past 15 years. “He used to charge Rs 30,000 to poach a tusker. We have seized a 12-bore rifle, deer skins and horns from his possession,” she added.
The DFO also said that the accused and his associates had poached two elephants in Haladiaseni reserve forest under Maniabandha forest section in 2018 and took away their heads and tusks. “Following the incident, the Forest department had handed over the investigation to the Special Task Force (STF) of the Crime Branch. But there was no breakthrough,” she informed.
“However, on Saturday, we got the information that Babuli has come to his village Durgaprasad. Later, a special squad of the Forest officials raided the village and arrested him,” she said.
Stating that the accused has confessed that he has sold a pair of tusks in Nayagarh, she said that an investigation is on to identify their buyers.