(Eds: Updates with fresh details; charges) Bahraich (UP), Dec 26 (PTI) Ace golfer Jyoti Randhawa was arrested Wednesday on charges of poaching in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve’s protected area in Uttar Pradesh, an officer said.

Equipment used for hunting, a .22 bore rifle and a deer hide were seized from the international golfer, field officer Ramesh Pandey said.

Randhawa, ranked among the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking several times between 2004 and 2009, has a farm house in Dudhwa-Katarniaghat forest area and was said to be staying there for the past few days.

The officer said a luxury vehicle with registration number HR-26 DN-4299 was also seized from the golfer whose full name is Jyotinder Singh Randhawa.

Police slapped serious charges under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and the Indian Forest Act, 1927 against him. He was later produced before the chief judicial magistrate, Bahraich.

Pandey said another person, identified as Mahesh Virajdar, was arrested along with Randhawa near the Motipur range of Katarniaghat in the reserve.

Virajdar has served the Indian Navy as a Captain, a post equivalent to Colonel in the Indian Army and Group Captain in the IAF. He was court martialled four years ago on charges of committing certain financial irregularities.

The Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, which is about 200 km from state capital Lucknow, is a part of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.

It covers an area of 400.6 sq km in Terai belt of Bahraich district.

In 1987, it was brought under the purview of the ‘Project Tiger’. It provides strategic connectivity between tiger habitats of Dudhwa and Kishanpur in India and the Bardia National Park in Nepal.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.