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Friday, September 12, 2008

Forest officials elated at Czechs' conviction

KOLKATA: The conviction of Czech scientist Emil Kucera - who was sentenced to three years' imprisonment by the chief judicial magistrate's court in Darjeeling on Wednesday for violating the Biodiversity Act - will go a long way in protecting the region's forest resources.

Forest officials, who had been working hard to ensure that Kucera and his biologist companion Petr Svacha did not get away, were elated by the judgment. Svacha, however, has been let off with a fine.

"It is a landmark judgment. Over the last few years, there have been several cases of illegal collection of insects and butterflies. But none was punished. This time, we were hell-bent on ensuring that the offenders did not get away just because they were foreigners. We had gathered enough evidence that helped to nail the duo," said Utpal Nag, assistant divisional forest officer of Darjeeling, who played a key role in getting Kucera and Svacha arrested and jailed.

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The painting is by Laura Tasheiko

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