HYDERABAD: While the blackbuck poaching case involving Bollywood star Salman Khan has hit the headlines after his conviction on Thursday, a Hyderabadi Khan, who is involved in a few wildlife poaching cases, is now in judicial remand in a jail in Basavakalyan in Karnataka after being arrested on charges of hunting and killing three blackbucks.
On March 30 this year, Basavakalyan police arrested Dr Mujahid Ali Khan and four others under Sections 9 and 51 of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act for hunting and killing three blackbucks, which is a Schedule-1 animal. A medical doctor from Masab Tank in Hyderabad, Dr Khan was also booked under the Arms Act for misuse of licenced weapons.
Dr Mujahid Ali Khan, who studied dentistry in Humnabad in Karnataka, went on a hunting trip from Hyderabad. The Karnataka police nabbed Dr Khan along with blackbuck meat, skin and antlers. They also recovered 22 live ammunition rounds, six knives, torchlights and a jeep.
The two other Hyderabadis held were identified as Syed Azar and Yakoob. Karnataka police officials said the vehicle was modified to store firearms and hide the meat.
“The accused Mujahid Ali Khan misused his 0.22 calibre imported rifle and shot three blackbucks. We arrested five persons, of which three were from Hyderabad and two were locals. All the five are in judicial remand. The case is under investigation,” Basavakalyan Police Station House Officer Sunil Kumar told TOI. “Mujahid Ali Khan took the help of locals in Humnabad as guides and resorting to hunting. He has got an old acquaintance in the region as he studied here. There is a significant blackbuck population in the drylands near Halsur village of Basavakalyan which the accused targeted,” Sunil Kumar added.
Interestingly, Dr Khan was, in October 2014, involved in hunting a pregnant Nilgai in Tanur of Nirmal forest division of Telangana.
Referring to the previous poaching incident in which Dr Khan was booked, Nirmal divisional forest officer Damodar Reddy told TOI: “The Tanur police arrested Dr Khan and 13 other poachers for killing a Nilgai in October 2014 and handed over the case to the forest department. We filed the chargesheet in the case. However, two of the accused, including Dr Khan, have gone absconding. When our officers visited Dr Khan’s address in Masab Tank to serve the summons, they were told he had left for the Gulf, probably Dubai. Therefore, as per our records, the doctor is absconding.”
Unaware of all this, the Telangana government had, in 2016, empanelled Dr Khan as one of the 18 official sharpshooters to cull wild boars, but the same was cancelled later.
Telangana wildlife department OSD A Shankaran told TOI, “When we empanelled him, no background check was conducted. Later, we asked for a report from the forest officials of Nirmal, who reported to us that Dr Mujahid Ali Khan was involved in a poaching case after which we immediately cancelled his empanelment.”