APRIL 26, 2018
MUMBAI – Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was listed among the most notorious wildlife criminals in the country on the website of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), a government body that combats poaching and related offences, after he was convicted in the blackbuck poaching case in Rajasthan.
“The database is uploaded to alert states about the convictions and past records of criminals. This helps in keeping a track of their movement,” Tilottama Varma, additional director of the bureau, said.
The 52-year-old actor was sentenced to five years in prison on April 5 by a court in Jodhpur for killing two blackbucks, an endangered antelope, in 1998. Khan spent two days in the Jodhpur Central Jail before being granted bail. The next hearing on the matter is on May 7.
Khan’s name is among 38 other convicts jailed for various crimes under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The convicts were found guilty of poaching tigers and smuggling pangolin scales and body parts, seahorse, snakes and other animals. He is the 39th on the list.
“Exposing convicts gives an edge to people and authorities over the criminals. This means their public dealings remains under the scanner. People’s participation is necessary and it also ensures a window for the government to remain alert,” senior forest official SS Negi said.
Black Buck or Antelope cervicapra is a Schedule I species under the act. A native of India and extinct in Bangladesh, it is one of the species which has high conservation value in the country.
The convicts on the bureau’s list mostly belong to Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh.
Six criminals, including a woman, were convicted for attempting to poach tigers at the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, bordering Tamil Nadu. Three others were convicted for tiger parts smuggling from Amravati in Maharashtra and a woman from Haryana was convicted for attempting to hunt tigers in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit.
Six other wildlife criminals were convicted for attempting to poach tigers in the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve and were sentenced in Haldwani, Uttarakhand. Six Bawariya community tribe people were convicted of smuggling pangolin scales and body parts in other parts of the country.