Four persons were arrested for allegedly raping a Bengal monitor lizard in Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR) in Maharashtra, quoting a forest official PTI reported.

The incident, which occurred at Gothane village in Ratnagiri district, came to light days after the four accused were booked for illegally entering Chandoli National Park, which is part of the reserve, with one of them carrying a gun for hunting, he said.

The accused were being probed after they were booked on March 31 for illegally entering the forest when the crime came to light, the official said.

The STR is spread over four districts of Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Ratnagiri.

The accused were identified as Sandeep Tukaram Pawar, Mangesh Kamtekar, Akshay Kamtekar and Ramesh Ghag, he said.

“During the investigation, the forest officials found that the accused had allegedly raped a Bengal monitor lizard.

Their act was also recorded in a mobile phone of one of the accused persons,” he said.

“We have recovered all the related evidence from the accused and they were granted forest department custody initially, but are out on bail now,” the forest official said.

They have been asked to mark their presence before the forest officer, who is probing the case, every Monday, he said.

“The four accused have been booked under various sections of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972,” field director of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR), Nanasaheb Ladkat, said.

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