The Gujarat government secretariat in Gandhinagar had an unusual visitor early Monday when a leopard sneaked inside the premises and exited quietly as more than 200 forest department personnel combed the complex housing high-profile offices.
The big cat was finally found hiding in a culvert near "Punit Van", a public garden located at a distance from the secretariat, after a 12-hour operation, officials said.
It was tranquillised and captured safely around 6 PM.
The secretariat, or Sachivalaya, in the state capital near here houses the offices of Gujarat chief minister and chief secretary, besides those of other ministers, senior bureaucrats and government departments.
Earlier Monday, a CCTV camera captured the feline entering the complex from beneath a locked gate around 2 AM.
However, after hours of intense search, forest officials declared that the feline was not on the premises.
"The leopard was found hiding inside a 15-metre-long culvert near the 'Punit Van' and was subsequently tranquillised. Over 200 forest personnel participated in the operation. The leopard was shifted to Indroda Park near Gandhinagar and has regained consciousness," the state forest department said in a statement.
As a precaution, secretariat employees and officials had been asked to not enter the complex, which also houses the assembly building, till the wild animal is captured.
Gupta said leopards are part of wildlife found in 40 to 50 square km area surrounding the state capital.
As per Census 2016-17, there are around 16 leopards in the forest areas in adjoining Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts in Gujarat, according to the statement.
In 2009, a leopard was spotted in Gandhinagar and was subsequently captured.
Punit Van would remain closed for public on Tuesday.
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