Hyderabad: Six persons, who had killed a leopard and tried to sell its skin, were arrested by special teams of the Ramagundam police commissionerate on Thursday. The accused had killed the leopard in Mangi forest area in Mumuram Bheem Asifabad district two weeks ago, the police said. The police seized the animal skin and the vehicles used by the accused.

Based on intelligence reports, teams from the Task Force, Special Branch, along with the staff of Devapur police station started checking vehicles at Mandamarri rural area in Mancherial district. Then they intercepted six persons travelling in an autorickshaw and on a bike and found the skin in their possession.

Upon questioning the accused, the police found that one of the accused Shankar had contacted his close relative, informed him about the skin, and asked him to look for a buyer. His relative in turn approached his friends in Hyderabad and informed them about the deal and also offered a share in the deal. The news was shared with a few others, who started looking out for prospective buyers. Meanwhile, Prasad, Raju, Wajid, Jameel and Saikrishna told that they have to first see the skin, and only after verification, they can look for buyers.

Accordingly, on Thursday, when all of them were going to Pallamguda village to examine the skin, they were nabbed. Based on their confession, the skin which was concealed in the forest area on the village outskirts was seized.

The main accused in the case - P. Shankar, G. Raju and G. Murali - are absconding. The police said the skin would be handed over to forest officials.

The police said that to protect wildlife from poachers they have increased surveillance in coordination with the forest department and are using drones to check activities of those involved in poaching wild animals and illegal transportation of teak.

The arrested persons would also be detained under the PD act, to prevent them from getting involved in any further offenses, said the police officials.

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