Deogarh: Acting on a tip-off, the Special Task Force (STF) of Crime Branch Friday busted a racket involved in smuggling of leopard hide in Barkote area of Deogarh district.
Three persons including two sons of retired officials of the prisons department were arrested in this connection. CB sleuths have also seized a 7-feet long leopard hide from their possession, said SP of Crime Branch STF, Rahul PR.
The arrested youths were identified as Ramanisen Behera, reportedly the mastermind of the racket, and his aides Jagnyadutta Behera and Sachikanta Nayak.
Acting on reliable information, a team of STF arrested the trio while they were trying to strike a deal in Barkote area to sell the hide. The CB officials are interrogating the accused taking them to Bhubaneswar.
“Preliminary investigation suggested that the leopard was shot dead. The STF is investigating into all the angles and we are also probing to ascertain the exact location from where the accused had poached the leopard. Whether anyone else was involved in the racket is also being looked into,” said the SP.
Earlier March 15, the STF had arrested seven persons and seized four leopard hides following raids at a lodge at Kuchinda in Sambalpur district.