Special Correspondent

Kolkata: Czech Ambassador Hynek Kmonicek on Tuesday visited the two Czech nationals incarcerated in Darjeeling on charges of collecting insects from the Singalila National Park without authorisation last month.

The visit was on the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic that wants the case to be cleared as quickly as possible, Dr. Kmonicek told The Hindu over telephone from Darjeeling.

He likened the case to that of “a professional driver being caught by the police for not having a driving licence.”

“The two entomologists were collecting samples without permission which, of course, is an offence. But after talking to many lawyers here, I feel certain that what they are accused of is a bailable offence,” the Czech Ambassador said.

The two Czech nationals — Peter Svacha and Emil Kucera — have been charged with violating provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 for collecting beetles, moths and butterflies, some of which are rare species, from the National Park without permission.