The godman allegedly advised women to worship the lizard genitals if they were struggling to conceive.

seized wildlife artefactsFour arrested for dealing in protect wildlife
news Crime Friday, September 11, 2020 - 18:08

A 46-year-old self-styled godman in Karnataka’s Bagalkot and his associates were arrested on Thursday for allegedly selling monitor lizard genitals to women who were apparently struggling to conceive. Forest officials said that the godman would get women followers and they would be advised to worship the lizard genitals following a ritual.

A joint operation by the police and the Karnataka forest department in Bagalkot’s Bilgi taluk resulted in the arrest of three more persons in connection with the godman. Officials also recovered 503 sea fans along with 498 lizard genitals. The godman has been identified as Sanna Eerappa Jammanna (46). His associates are Basappa Siddagiri Bilagi (33), Eerappa Bandeppa Jirali (61) and his son Pavan Eerappa Jirali 29.

Shankar, Deputy Conservator of Forests and in-charge of the Forest Mobile Squad, said that the accused have been sent to judicial custody following the arrest.

“We are yet to ascertain details from whatever they told us. So far, they have been evasive about how they procured the wild animals. Both the sea fans and monitor lizards are protected species under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, that is why we took action,” Shankar told TNM.

“We do not know what exactly their motive was, but they were fooling innocent people. We will carry on our investigations, and next week again we will interrogate them,” he added. 

Officials said the godman was procuring the wildlife artefacts through Basappa who in turn was sourcing them from Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh. The reptiles are usually caught by some tribal populations for their personal consumption.

After sourcing these, he would recommend his followers, mostly women, to buy them from Bandeppa and his son, who ran a small shop.

Following a tip off, the forest department staff along with the police had approached Basappa and offered him to pay Rs 2 lakh to buy this lot of artefacts.

 

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