environmentalists and forest department officials in Sikkim are incensed at the recent release of two Russians who were found stealing rare species of butterflies, moths and beetles from the Kanchenjunga National Park.
The two Russians, Victor Sinyaev and Oleg Amosov, were arrested by the state's forest department under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 in July. But they were released after the lok adalat compounded the case following an out-of-court settlement. This is despite the fact that Section 55 of the 1972 Act has a provision for compounding cases.
Although these Russians claimed to be scientists conducting research, they had no relevant documents to substantiate their claim. The case had subsequently been shifted from the Gyalshing Sessions Court in west Sikkim to the lok adalat in Gangtok. After spending about a month in jail following their arrest, the two Russians were set free after they paid a meagre Rs 20,000 as penalty.
It is reported that the Sikkim chief minister, Pawan Chamling, has taken a strong exception to this smuggling case. He has assured that the state government was giving the matter a serious look.
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