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Wildlife activists shocked at jail suspension of Sansar Chand

September 26, 2009

September 25th, 2009 - ICT by IANS

New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI)
Friday said it was "dismayed" that the Supreme Court had suspended notorious
wildlife criminal Sansar Chand's jail sentence and ordered that he be
"enlarged on bail to the satisfaction of the trial court".
"We are dismayed by this news," said Belinda Wright, WPSI's executive
director, in a statement.

"His imminent release from prison in Jaipur, coupled with the dismal track
record of convictions in wildlife cases, will only hasten the demise of the
tiger," she stressed.

The Supreme Court by an order dated Aug 24 suspended notorious wildlife
criminal Sansar Chand's jail sentence and ordered that he be "enlarged on
bail to the satisfaction of the trial court", WPSI added in the statement.

The petition, WPSI said, sought the permission of the Supreme Court to
appeal against the Rajasthan High Court's judgment of December 2008, which
had confirmed the earlier judgment of the trial court.

In April 2004, a trial court in Ajmer had found Sansar Chand guilty of
offences under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, and had sentenced him to five
years imprisonment.

Sansar Chand had unsuccessfully challenged the judgment, in an appeal
followed by a criminal revision petition, in the Rajasthan High Court.

"He is now looking to the Supreme Court to let him off the hook. While this
is the only case in which Sansar Chand is currently undergoing imprisonment
for a conviction, he is an accused in several other pending cases in the
trial courts. Sansar Chand has been convicted of wildlife offences in two
earlier cases in 1982," said the statement.

Sansar Chand is believed to be India's biggest wildlife criminal who has
been responsible for more tiger and leopard deaths than anyone else, the
WPSI said.

Diaries seized from his family by the Rajasthan police in 2004 allegedly
showed transactions of 40 tiger skins and 400 leopard skins, in a period of
just 11 months from October 2003 to September 2004.

During interrogation by the CBI in 2006, Sansar Chand apparently admitted to
selling 470 tiger skins and 2,130 leopard skins to just four clients from
Nepal and Tibet.
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