HC fumes at Odisha Govt over Similipal elephant poaching

Cuttack: Orissa High Court expressed displeasure over the state government’s inaction in elephant poaching incident at Similipal Wildlife Sanctuary.

Hitting out at the PCCF and Joint Task Force (JTF) in this matter, the High Court bench comprised of Chief Justice S. Muralidhar today asked the government whether any measure has been taken to prevent elephant poaching in the state and why FIR has not been registered against the officials who have been suspended in Similipal elephant poaching case.

Appearing before the court, the PCCF confessed that the forest officials had killed the tusker, removed ivory and burnt the body, informed senior advocate Asish Mishra.

“When asked about the steps taken to protect the elephants in the state, the PCCF said that we have done the mapping of elephant corridors in the state that will be submitted in the court soon,” the petitioner’s counsel.

The next hearing in the case has been fixed for December 22.

According to reports, poachers killed an elephant for ivory and abandoned the body at Similipal forest. The forest officials allegedly burnt the carcass on December 8 to destroy the evidence.

The matter came to fore following allegations by the locals after which the government suspended three forest officials — Jenabil range forester-in-charge Shiba Shankar Samal, forester of Gurandia section Chandrabhanu and forest guard of Special Tiger Protection Force Binod Kumar Das — and ordered a high-level probe into the incident.

Sources said that around 50 forest officials had visited Jenabil forest range last week where the tusker’s body was set on fire. The team identified the site where the incident had taken place and seized remnant. They sent the remnant to the OUAT for medical examination.

“The fact will be revealed after receiving the report from the OUAT,” said Similipal Tiger Project’s Deputy Director Samrat Goud, adding that further action will be taken after end of the investigation.

Worth mentioning that in view of growing number of elephant deaths across the state, the High Court in August had directed the state government to form a JTF to prevent poaching of elephants.


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