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Insect Heist: Arrested Czech Traded on Web - Naresh Kadyan OIPA

Environment  (tags: environment, conservation, nature, habitat, wildlife, protection, ecosystems )

- 3574 days ago -
Kindly have a look on the trading of insects by scientist mafia working under cover of RESEARCH here in India, we demands maximum punishment to these black sheep's as per law of the land.

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Past Member (0)
Thursday July 10, 2008, 9:23 pm
KOLKATA: The arrest in Darjeeling of two Czech nationals — who introduced themselves as a scientist and a forester and collected several rare species of butterflies and insects without permission from the forest department — has literally opened a can of worms.

Forest officials fear that they trespassed into Singalila National Park with a motive. And they might be part of a global network that trades in endangered varieties of butterflies and insects that fetch millions of dollars in the international market.

According to the forest department, one of the arrested, Peter Svacha, even has a website on which he has posted offers to sell some rare butterflies. Svacha and his companion Emil Kucera — who claimed to be a forester — were remanded in jail custody till July 21 by the Darjeeling court on Wednesday.

Forest officials seized 60 butterflies, over a dozen rare varieties of beetles and moths from them after their arrest from a Darjeeling hotel on June 22. The catch, made at the national park in Darjeeling, is estimated to be worth Rs 10 crore in the international market. It has been sent to the Zoological Survey of India for analysis.

Investigators are proceed-ing cautiously because the accused scientist is apparently well known and finds mention on several websites.

Seshmani Gurung, defence lawyer for the duo, said: "I could not attend the hearing because of the ceasework at court. I will advise my clients to write to the political party that has called the strike in government offices and to the Bar council to open the court for proceedings."

While the butterflies are listed in Schedule I, the beetles are included in Schedule II of the Wild Life Protection Act. Neither Svacha nor Kucera had clearance or permission to collect butterflies from Singalila National Park.
"But they were carrying all the necessary equipment, which shows they had come with a purpose. It can’t be that they were not aware that permission had to be sought. The two had insect catching nets, an axe, a saw, a lamp and glue. They were even carrying preservatives. We suspect the butterflies and insects would either have been smuggled to China or to some European country from the Czech Republic," said Utpal Nag, assistant divisional forest officer of Darjeeling. "Both are well aware of the forest rules and regulations in India and had done an extensive study on Indian biodiversity. This could be the tip of an iceberg."

Darjeeling and the Dooars are considered among the richest in the world in terms of biodiversity. The area is home to 120 rare species of butterflies that have a huge market in at least 16 countries including China, US and Tibet. Last year, a German national was caught collecting insects from Darjeeling.

"Bio-piracy is rampant in the eastern Himalayas. Just 3-4 cases have come to light in the last 10 years while the rest went unnoticed. Usually foreigners operate in the area posing as scientists. This is a cause for concern," said Deepankar Ghosh, senior coordinator of WWF India.

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 26, 2008, 3:03 am
Kolkata, July 25 The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM), Darjeeling, granted bail to Czech scientists Petr Svacha and Emil Kucera on Friday morning. After spending more than a month in jail, the duo was finally released late in the evening.

ACJM U K Nandi granted the bail on a condition that the scientists will not be allowed to leave Darjeeling until further orders. They also need to meet investigating officers twice a week to complete the probe being conducted by the district police. Their passports, seized by the forest department earlier, will not be handed over to them.

Svacha and Kuchera were arrested by the police on June 22 for violating the Wildlife Protection Act, following complaints lodged by the forest department. Since then, they were lodged in the Darjeeling jail.

Earlier, the ACJM court had rejected their bail petition.

According to a source in the Darjeeling jail, a Czech embassy official from Delhi spoke to the scientists over the phone after their release. The jail authorities also provided them with a vehicle to reach Darjeeling town. “They left the jail at 6.30 pm,” said a source.

Advocate Taurang Pandit, counsel of the scientists, had moved the bail petition on July 23.

A spokesman of the Czech embassy in Calcutta said the scientists would give their full cooperation to investigating officers of the case. “We will move a petition before the court to relax the conditions of the bail,” he said.

Petr H. (0)
Monday August 4, 2008, 8:38 am
First of all I wish to say, that I am glad both Czech entomologists remain alive after spending so long time in circumstances inconceivable in country requesting to be regarded as civilized. It is unforgivable to hold foreign scientists as political hostages in conflict they have nothing in common – when there was a judicial strike.
Twelve years ago I was travelling in India. I learned one rule – never trust any Indian (well, there were nine exception to this rule in five weeks, four of them were local Christian reverends, one was clergywoman and the remaining four were professors of universities we met.
The National parks I visited during this journey were build and organized probably under spiritual leadership of Russian Prince Potemkin (see in Wikipedia Web what Potemkin villages means) and naming it “National Park” was only eyewash. According information, the place, where insects were collected, was lumber-jacked, so I suspect, that both Czech entomologists were incommodious witnesses of illegal wood-cuttery. India, as well as other countries in this region is "sadly-notable" in blatant corruption of local authorities (including Police and Justice), involved in this business and obtaining their hush-money for non-observing.
If Dr. Petr Svacha and his colleague Emil Kucera did something, they maybe ignored the lethaly monstrous Indian bureaucracy, which could be used by Bolywood, if some horror-films will be made there.
What was written by an Indian ink-spiller I would consider to be grotesque, if danger connected with such defamation would be smaller. According these bull-shits published there, they maybe are members of gang sending beetles for market to China. And one of catched has web page, where he offered beetles. Only one bagatelle – they are offered for change to improve collection, not for money, to improve bank account.
I am not an entomologist, but a herpetologist. What I know from China, Indian animals appear there, but they are smuggled by Indians or Tibetans, not by Europeans. Europeans use to smuggle, if, to Europe and for animals found on Chinese meet market it can be the last hope for staying alive. About Indian herpetofauna I can unambiguously proclaim, that it is Indians, who is guilty in its destruction.

Michal Z. (0)
Wednesday August 27, 2008, 4:37 pm
Yes, India has many problems and the witch-hunts are only small tips of icebergs. Who will openly say in this country that some forest officer guys want to make their carrier by falsifying the documents, bringing lies about the places in which the Czechs were collecting beetles, about contacting the Czech embassy and getting information about nonexistent law in the Czechia that bans beetle collecting, about species in the possession of both entomologists that are under protection? The foreigners should be blamed for powerty, overpopulation, nationalism... why not? The Czechs should have known, while approached by the forest gang that they should act as expected from the foreigners accused in India - to pay whatever they are asked for and run...., because they are doomed - the "law defending gang" can pay to get witnesses or falsify anything, as the Lonely Planet warns. Or am I wrong? We will see what the judge says...

Naresh Kadyan (1180)
Wednesday October 29, 2008, 5:31 pm

Darjeeling, Oct. 28: Emil Kucera had called up his girlfriend for one of his passports and some money before he crossed over to Nepal and fled to his country, the Czech Republic. The forester has said this in an interview to Czech Television, reports Aktualne, a Czech newspaper.

The Telegraph had yesterday reported that Kucera had used three passports to visit India five times between 1999 and 2008. Only one of them — No 35667512 — had been seized and is now with the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Darjeeling.

The Czech Ambassador in India, Hynek Kmonicek, told PTI that he received an e-mail from Kucera stating that he had left as “he had no other alternative but to reach his country”.

Kmonicek said it was absolutely Kucera's personal responsibility and the Czech embassy was ready to extend all possible help to India on this issue.

Kucera along with Petr Svacha, a Czech entomologist, had been arrested on June 22 for illegally collecting beetles and insects from Singalila National Park, about 90km from Darjeeling.

While both Svacha and Kucera were convicted, the entomologist was let off with a fine of Rs 20,000. Kucera was sentenced to three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 60,000. However, the forester was given bail so that he could appeal against the judgment to a higher court, in this case the sessions court. The court of the chief judicial magistrate had, however, said Kucera could not leave Darjeeling district without its permission.

Yesterday, when contacted on his friend’s cellphone, Kucera had said he had already reached the Czech Republic, but had refused to divulge the details of how he made it there. He had said the “absurdity” of the case had prompted him to flee. “Why (I fled).is an interesting question. There are no human rights there. The case was absurd. How could two people involved in the same case get two different judgments?” Kucera had said. The Czech government has purportedly said he may not be extradited.

Aktualne has quoted a spokesperson of the Czech justice ministry, Zuzana Kuncová, who said: “Since the sentence has not yet taken effect, they cannot ask for his extradition.” The Czech foreign ministry does not expect that Kucera’s escape will harm the country’s relations with India, according to ministry spokeswoman Zuzana Opletalová.

“The Czech Republic cannot be held responsible for a decision of a single person, who was under heavy psychological pressure,” Opletalová added.

Taranga Pandit, Kucera’s defence lawyer, said the Czech embassy had faxed him a letter saying that Petr Svacha was ill in Delhi. “The fax, which arrived yesterday, authorised me to collect his passport from the court. There was no mention of Kucera’s escape,” said Pandit.

“The next date of hearing (on Kucera’s case) in the sessions court is November 6. In all likelihood, his bail will now be rejected,” he added.

Petr H. (0)
Friday October 31, 2008, 7:36 am
I can only congratulate him. When somebody succeed to escape from Nazi German concentracional camp, or Bolshevik Czechoslovakia prison, he was regarded as lucky man. And in such anti-democratic and absolutely unjust country as India undoubtfully is, it is almost same success to escape. It seems to be the only way to make himself fairness. Indian court has luck of one substantial bagatelle, of Justice... When attorney prefers to conspire with prosecutor against his own client, when judge accepts documents, evidently fake, as "evidence", when foreigner is forbidden to contact embassy of his state, when basic human rights of accused are violated and nobody is prosecuted because it, there is something rotten in the state of India, I must proclaim.
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