Sambalpur: The Special Task Force of the Crime Branch on Sunday arrested three more persons with alleged links to the leopard skin racket busted in Sambalpur on March 15.
The arrested persons have been identified as Narendra Ping, Manful Pradhan and Akhaya Bhoi. Acting on a tip-off that the accused were present there, the STF rushed to the spot and arrested them. They were forwarded to the court of the SDJM in Kuchinda.
After busting the leopard skin racket, the STF had arrested seven persons from Kuchinda in Sambalpur district on March 15. The seven men were looking for businessmen to sell leopard skins to. Four leopard skins were seized from their possession.
The arrested persons, who were involved in trading of leopard skins, have been identified as Sanjay Bagh, Sunil Kallu of Laikara in Jharsuguda district, Dusraj Patel of Laikara, Minaketan Mundu of Mahulpulli in Sambalpur district, Kailash Majhi of Laikara, Jhulaketan Naik of Laikara and Kumad Bara of Mahulpulli in Sambalpur district.
The arrested persons are believed to be poachers with links to national and international rackets.
Sources said the STF took the arrested persons on three-day remand and extracted important information from them. After the three-day remand on Saturday, they were again sent to jail.
Hunters and poachers often kill animals and sell their skin in the national and international market for lakhs of rupees.
It is a matter of concern and a challenge for the forest department that tigers are not safe in Odisha’s forests, sources said.