New Delhi: CBI today registered three cases in connection with poaching of rhinoceros in the Kaziranga National Park(KNP) in Assam, kickstarting a probe amid a surge in killings of these animals.
CBI sources said today the cases have been handed over to one of the Economic Offences wings of the agency which specialises in investigating wild life crime related incidents.
The cases registered by the agency pertain to poaching of three rhinos which took place during July and September, 2012 in the districts Karbi Anglong and Nagaon of Assam.
KNP has witnessed an upsurge in poaching of rhinos since last year. Last year, 25 rhinos were killed in KNP, while 20 have been poached so far this year.
In Manas, two rhinos were poached this year and one was killed last year at Orang.
Agency spokesperson Dharini Mishra said as per practice CBI has taken over cases initially registered by Assam Police against unknown persons in districts of Karbi Anglong and Nagaon of Assam, for various offences of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and the Arms Act,1959.
The sources said a team of the agency is likely to visit KNP to interact with the local police and pick up any clues which might help it in probing the case.
They said the agency is also likely to seek the list of suspected poacher gangs and such history sheeters which have been active in the area to look for trails.
CBI sources said the poachers had allegedly used fire arms to kill the rhinos to extract their body parts for selling it to middlemen.
The sources said a chain of middlemen operates in the illegal international wildlife trade which is the second largest after narcotics globally in terms of money involved.
The spokesperon said CBI took up the investigation on the request of Assam Government and further notification from Government of India.