Poaching in Rajaji: Activists demand suspension of chief wildlife warden
Days after chief wildlife warden DVS Khati demanded a SIT probe into leopard poaching incident in Rajaji Tiger Reserve, two activists on Saturday demanded his expulsion along with two other officers of the reserve over the poaching incidentsUpdated: Apr 28, 2018 21:47 IST
Days after chief wildlife warden DVS Khati demanded a SIT probe into leopard poaching incident in Rajaji Tiger Reserve, two activists on Saturday demanded his expulsion along with two other officers of the reserve over the poaching incidents.
Leopard poaching was reported on March 22 in the Motichur (core) area of Rajaji. The investigation was done by Komal Singh, warden of the area.
People close to the matter claimed that the investigation has reported dubious role of activists Rajeev Mehta and Dinesh Pandey along with a top forest officer. Taking cue of the report, Khati demanded the SIT probe.
But, Mehta has a different story to tell. “The operation was officiated by head of forest force which didn’t go well with the chief wildlife warden as he was not intimated about the incident. It was after the seizure that he came to know of it. The facts won’t change and we are ready for it,” Mehta said.
“But, we also demand suspension of Khati along with director Rajaji who could not avert the incident and also of warden who was clueless about a poaching incident beforehand. If these people didn’t know what’s happening in their area, then they should not be holding their respective positions,” he added.
Requesting anonymity, an officer in the forest department said National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has taken cognizance of the matter as the tiger translocation was planned near Motichur.
“Tiger translocation in the area which is highly disturbed and reports human activity shouldn’t be done. It means butchering the tigers even after knowing the threat,” said Dinesh Pandey, another activist.
About a fortnight ago, the chief wildlife warden in an official communication banned entry of Mehta in protected areas. Both Mehta and Khati also face to face on five tiger skin seizure incident of March 2016.
Mehta has approached the high court in the case alleging that flaws in the investigation.
The accused arrested in the incident took officers to the border of Kalagarh (Corbett Tiger Reserve) and Lansdowne Forest Division stating to have killed tigers somewhere near.
The NTCA, too, in its affidavit submitted before the court has accepted the lacuna in security system of Corbett.
Khati said: “Territorial divisions are not in my jurisdiction. The protected areas are. I recommended SIT to thoroughly investigate the case, as investigation done by our staff could be called ‘biased’ or ‘fake’.”
First Published: Apr 28, 2018 21:47 IST