CBI starts probe into forest officials’ roles in Uttarakhand tiger deaths
During its probe, the CBI will cover deaths and killing of tigers and leopards reported from the protected areas of Joshimath, Rajaji National Park, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Pithoragarh, Almora, Haldwani and Kumaon range among others.Updated: Oct 02, 2018 19:37 IST
The CBI has initiated a preliminary enquiry into the alleged collusion of forest department officials in tiger deaths and poaching cases reported from protected areas of Uttarakhand during the past five years.
The agency has set up multiple teams of officials from its Wildlife Wing to look into the deaths and possibly complete its probe within three months, the sources said.
During its probe, the agency will cover deaths and killing of tigers and leopards reported from the protected areas of Joshimath, Rajaji National Park, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Pithoragarh, Almora, Haldwani and Kumaon range among others.
The agency has started the inquiry against unidentified officials of Uttarakhand forest department and others to look into their alleged “criminal misconduct, complicity, involvement, collusion” in the incidents of poaching and deaths of wild cats reported in the state.
Some of the teams have already reached at some of the crime scenes to begin their investigation while some are likely to reach soon, they said. It was reported that in last two-and-a-half years, 40 tigers and 272 leopards have died in the state.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) action has come on the orders of Uttarakhand High Court which had taken note of the deaths. A division bench of the the high court comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lokpal Singh on September 4 had ordered the CBI inquiry.
The court had asked the CBI to find out the involvement of forest officers in the poaching of tigers and sought a preliminary report in sealed cover, within three months. The court does not order for investigation by the CBI but the present case is the rarest of rare case where the expertise of the CBI is solicited, the court said.
While handing over probe to the CBI into the alleged role of officials, the High Court said sufficient material has come on record which shows the complicity, involvement and connivance of the officials with the poachers.
First Published: Oct 02, 2018 19:37 IST