New Delhi: The Court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Special Acts), Tis Hazari, Delhi, Ajay Gupta, convicted an ivory trader and sentenced him to two years imprisonment with a fine, on Tuesday. According to the prosecution, Abdul Rehman and three of his partners Mohd. Murslin, Abdullah and Moinuddin who ran a partnership firm M/s Mursalin Ivory Arts, were accused of illegal trade in ivory after inspections carried out in June,1993, by the Department of Wildlife, Delhi Government, revealed about 5.5 kgs of non-declared ivory products in their premises.
“The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WPA) was amended in 1991 which inserted chapter V-A in the said Act providing for prohibition in dealing in ivory and the dealers of wildlife articles including ivory were to declare these materials with the office of the Chief Wildlife Warden. The firm had declared about 8 kgs of solid ivory as well as imported ivory articles. However, an additional 5.5 kg of ivory articles were found in their possession, which were absent in government records,” said Saurabh Sharma, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) lawyer who assisted the prosecution led by Atiq Ahmed, Prosecutor, Delhi Government.
V Bharati Dasan,Wildlife Inspector from the office of DM Shukla, Chief Wildlife Warden, Delhi Government, was the Complainant and a witness in this case. Other witnesses included Wildlife Inspectors RR Meena and SS Negi.
As the remaining three partners have since passed away, only Rehman faced the trial and was convicted under Section 49-B(1) of the WPA.
As per the WPA, currently, individuals convicted for trade in Schedule I species can be sentenced to an imprisonment of three to seven years. However, as the case pertains to the seizure in 1993 when the sentence was one to six years, Rehman was sentenced to two years imprisonment and was fined 10,000 rupees.