The Orissa High Court on Monday allowed the bail plea of a school teacher, accused of hunting and trading in wildlife animals.
The case relates to smuggling of a Pangolin in the Athagarh forest area in Orissa, where a scooty rider was apprehended transporting a live pangolin. On being enquired, he had named the present Petitioner, a school teacher, as a complicit.
The bench of Justice SK Panigrahi observed that it is usually not inclined to grant bail to people who are engaged in trafficking animals, however, on consideration of the submissions made during hearing, the Court allowed the present bail plea, subject to stringent terms and conditions.
"Though this Court generally is not inclined to grant bail to the people, who are engaged in trafficking or hunting the animal like pangolin but in the instant case, considering the submissions made and the facts and circumstances of the case, period of detention, nature of offence, it is directed that the petitioner be released on bail on some stringent terms and conditions," the order states.
The Odisha Government has lately taken vigor in busting pangolin smuggling rackets. In December last year, Forest officials of the Athagarh forest division detected an online trade link of the trafficking racket. Later, some persons accused of smuggling the endangered species were arrested and reportedly, the STF is probing their links in the bordering countries like Myanmar.
In the case at hand, the Petitioner had argued that he had been implicated in the case solely on the basis of the confession of the co-accused and otherwise, he had no complicity in commission of the alleged crime. He further submitted that he had merely supplied certain phone number of some persons to the co-accused.
The State had opposed the bail plea on the ground that the Petitioner was accused of smuggling an 'extinct species'. He was allegedly in violation of various laws banning the trade of live animals and animal products and he must therefore, be dealt with severely.
"The petitioner seems to be a member of an organized criminal gang involved in poaching and collecting wild animals. In case the petitioner is released on bail, he may commit similar offence," the State counsel had argued.
Case Title: Shyamsundar Behera v. State of Orissa
Case No.: BLAPL No. 4971/2020
Quorum: Justice SK Panigrahi
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