A man facing trial in a nearly 22- year-old wildlife case, in which notorious poacher Sansar Chand was earlier discharged, was acquitted by a Delhi court which said chances of his false implication cannot be ruled out.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Devendra Kumar Sharma released Mohammed Yaqoob, who was accused of possessing a huge cache of skin and bones of wild animals, including of tigers and leopards.
According to Wildlife Preservation office, Yaqoob was found in a room in Majnu Ka Tila area from where seven leopard skins, six blackbuck skins, two civet cat skins, one sea otter skin, two desert cat skins and 125 kg of tiger bones were allegedly recovered in 1993.
Apart from this, when Yaqoob led police to his factory in Civil Lines here, one jackal skin, one jacket made of otter skin, 30 paws with skins of other wild animals and one coat were also recovered.
The court had in March, 2010, discharged Sansar Chand, who has since died, in the case due to lack of evidence while accused Pema has also died and proceedings against him were abated.
While freeing Yaqoob, the court said there were material contradictions in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses.
"Considering all the discussed facts and circumstances of the case, it creates doubt over the prosecution story as well as two views and chances of false implication of the accused cannot be ruled out," it said.
The court said a senior officer of wildlife preservation office, involved in the investigation of the case, neither bothered to record disclosure statements of the accused persons at the time of recovery nor to probe the matter himself or guide the IO regarding sealing and seizure of case property.
It said that had the officer recorded the disclosure statement of the accused or conducted the investigation himself, then the fate of the case might have been different.