New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday expressed concern over declining population of tigers and lashed out at notorious poacher Sansar Chand, who has been convicted for trading animal's body parts, saying a day would come soon when human skin will be traded for commercial purposes.
"You are selling the skin of tigers and leopards. Tomorrow, you would sell even human skin. In this way, the population of tigers and leopards would be wiped out in the country. There would be no tiger left in Sariska," a bench of Justices Markandey Katju and T S Thakur said while dealing with the appeal of Chand.
The apex court rejected the arguments of his counsel that he was not involved in poaching.
"You are all interested in money. You want only money. Everything in the country is commercial. Today, people will sell the skin of animal, tomorrow they would start selling human skin also," the bench said while adjourning the matter for final disposal.
The Supreme Court had on July 5 sought a response from Rajasthan government on a parole plea of Chand who is serving a five-year jail term for smuggling leopard skins in 2003.
Chand, who is undergoing the jail-term in a case related to smuggling of claws, skin, teeth and other animal parts in Bhilwara in 2003, had filed a special leave petition (SLP) last year in the apex court challenging his conviction.
NGOs Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) have also been allowed to file an intervention petition.
Chand, now lodged in an Ajmer prison, has several wildlife cases against him including those relating to the disappearance of tigers from Sariska. He has been involved in poaching activities for over three decades.
In 2006, interrogated by CBI, Chand reportedly admitted to selling 470 tiger skins and 130 leopard skins to just four clients from Nepal and Tibet.