Police have begun preliminary investigation and are likely to register a first information report (FIR) after taking the statements of the people. Villagers said the goat was stolen in the night and was cooked and eaten by a few Kalmatha youths.
Deputy sarpanch of Kalmatha village Chandrakant Patel in a written complaint has demanded action. "The leopard is a threat to villagers and cattle. But the thieves have disrupted our plan to catch it by eating the bait," Patel said.
The villagers had alerted the forest department on spotting the leopard in the area. The forest officials found pugmarks of the leopard and immediately installed a cage near the village with a 20kg goat inside it as bait a few days ago.
Patel used to remove the goat from the cage in the morning and tie it back in the evening, as instructed by the forest officials. "When I went to get the goat it was missing. I immediately informed other villagers. A few residents of neighbouring village Maroli informed us that they had spotted a few youths cutting and cooking a goat in an open area between the two villages," Patel said.
The goat had been given by a villager to nab the leopard. Villagers are now arranging another goat to trap the leopard.
"Investigation is on in the matter. Police will register the statements of the suspects and the complainant. An FIR will registered soon," in charge investigating officer of Bilimora police station Shantilal Pawar said.