A city court here Tuesday sentenced 10 women and two men to three years in jail and fine of Rs. 10,000 each for their involvement in the illegally trading tiger parts.
The special court held them guilty for their role as carriers of tiger body parts, the NGO Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), which has been assisting the prosecution, said in a statement.
The accused, who belong to Pardhi tribe of Madhya Pradesh, were apprehended from the house of Shabbir Hasan Qureshi, a wildlife trader, in Allahabad Dec 4, 2007, in a raid by Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force.
Though the accused people have been in jail since then, after having denied bail, they were convicted only now.
Qureshi, his two sons Sarfaraz and Siraz and another accomplice, Ayub, were also arrested. Three tiger skins, 75 kg of tiger bones and other wildlife articles, were seized.
The trial had begun combining all 16 accused, including Qureshi. However, as Qureshi’s tactics kept the case pending, the 12 accused requested for their case to be separated, the NGO said.
Lawyer Arvind Kumar Tripathi of the WTI said: ‘They were concealing their true names and addresses. They would be untraceable if they jumped bail, so their bail was opposed.’ However, they would remain in jail only till December, as they have already spent time in prison.
The court, meanwhile, will continue to hear the case of Qureshi, Sarfaraz, Siraz and Ayub.
Qureshi is also known to have links with notorious wildlife trader Sansar Chand, who is currently lodged in a Rajasthan jail.
Assistant manager of WTI Jose Louies said: ‘Wildlife traders involve the Pardhi tribesmen in their illegal activities as they are skilled in tracking and hunting animals.’