Czech entomologist jumps bail, flees India

October 29th, 2008 - 2:45 am ICT by IANS  

Siliguri (West Bengal), Oct 29 (IANS) A Czech national who was sentenced to three years imprisonment by a court for collecting rare insects from a national park in Darjeeling has fled India after jumping bail, the police said Tuesday.Entomologist Emil Kuchera left India by crossing the country’s border with Nepal on Oct 21, the police said. Kuchera left behind his passport that was in the custody of Darjeeling Chief Judicial Magistrate.

The incident came to light, when the owner of the hotel, where Kuchera had put up after being given bail for appealing against his sentence to a higher court, lodged a complaint at the Darjeeling Sadar police station that the Czech was missing from his room.

Kuchera had told the hotel staff that he would be going to nearby Karseyong town.

Kuchera and his partner Petr Seapetr had been arrested under the Wildlife Protection Act on June 22 near Singalila National Park, some 100 km from Darjeeling town for collecting rare insects like beetles, butterflies and moths without permission.

Both were sent to jail, however, their case in court got delayed due to Gorkhaland agitation launched by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha that saw lawyers cease work in the Darjeeling district court.

Later, Kuchera got a three years imprisonment besides a fine of Rs.60,000, while Seapetr was let off with a fine of Rs 20,000.

Kuchera was later given bail for appealing to a higher court, but his passport was impounded.

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