State government has requested union ministry of the home affairs for the Central Bureau of Investigation probe into disappearance of tiger Jai, who is feared to have been poached.
Forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar met union home minister Rajnath Singh requesting him for the CBI inquiry into the matter. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, too, has decided to write a letter to the Centre for the central inquiry.
“Since a Member of Parliament has made the complaint, it would be appropriate for the Central agency to probe the matter. I met Rajnath Singhji and requested him for the CBI probe. Honourable CM also will write a letter to the PM today,” Mungantiwar told HT. “We still believe that the big cat is safe and healthy and we will be able to trace him at the earliest,”he said.
The minister disputed the concerns being expressed that the tiger may have been killed by poachers.
“The reports about the two poachers have been arrested is not true. I think it is a conspiracy of some anti social elements who have been floating rumours for their own interest.”
Mungantiwar said that the forest department’s drive to trace the tiger was on. “Experts also have endorsed our view that the tigers do reside deep in the forest during the monsoon. The forest teams are facing difficulties in tracing the cat due to the density of the green cover during monsoon. I can assure the tiger lovers that Jai is safe,” he added.
BJP MP from Bhandara-Gondiya Nana Patole, who had alleged that the tiger had been poached, recently sought the prime minister’s intervention. Patole also alleged that the poaching was done in connivance of the local forest employees. He further alleged that Jai’s grandfather and father Rashtrapati and Dendu and sibling Viru are also missing from the forests. Jai and Viru were named after two characters in Bollywood blockbuster Sholay played by Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra in 1970s.
The seven-foot long and 250 kg tiger, Jai was born in Navegaon-Nagrize tierger reserve in Bhandara-Gondia. He migrated to Umred-Karhandla, about 150-km away in 2013. The seven-year old tiger was last seen on April 18 this year. His radio collar, too, has been defunct since then.
Jai is a popular big cat among tourists and conservationists. Wildlife officials have launched a search operation for the royal feline. The tiger population of Maharashtra, which was 169 in 2010, has gone up to 190 in 2015. Out of this 70-odd tigers are accounted for in Tadoba tiger reserve.