A man accused of possessing five Shahtoosh shawls made of Tibetan Antelope, an endangered animal, has been sentenced to one year imprisonment by a Delhi court.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Devendra Kumar Sharma held Arif Qureshi, who was having a shop at Delhi Haat in South Delhi, guilty of keeping the shawls whose trade and possession are banned under the Wild Life (Protection) Act.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on Qureshi.
It allowed his plea seeking suspension of sentence to enable him to file an appeal against the conviction and jail term before a superior court. The court granted him bail for one month to file appeal against this judgement.
“It is held that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt against the accused that five shawls were recovered from his possession…
“From the statement of prosecution witnesses and quantity of recovered shawls, it is clear that accused was indulged in the business of Shahtoosh shawls without any permit or licence. The said shawls were made of/derived from Tibetan Antelope which are specified in Schedule?I of the Act and thus accused has contravened the provisions of the Act,” the court said.
According to the prosecution, in November 1996, on a tip-off, a raid was conducted by the Wild Life Preservation Office of Ministry of Environment and Forests that a person was dealing in Shahtoosh shawls at his shop in Delhi Haat.
Qureshi was present at the shop and five Shahtoosh shawls were recovered from his possession, the prosecution said, adding that he had confessed that he was dealing in such shawls but failed to produce any certificate/licence required to deal in them.
It said the recovered shawls were alleged to be made of Tibetan Antelope which was an endangered animal and since the trade or possession of such shawls were banned under the Act, the case properties were seized.
During the trial, Qureshi denied all material allegations levelled against him.