Maneka writes to CM asking for an investigation into Tusker’s death

Animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi, MP, has written to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai demanding an investigation into the electrocution of a tusker, which was revealed to Hassan earlier this year.

Ms Gandhi alleged that a Range Forest officer in Hassan was trying to shield the defendant in the case, giving in to pressure from MP Prajwal Revanna.

Chennammanakere Achukattu Police (CKA Police) in Bangalore arrested three people on March 18 as they searched for tusk buyers. They seized tusks weighing 29 kg from them. After further investigation, police found the elephant carcass in Veerapura, near Hassan. They took samples from the skull for further examination. It was alleged that the accused electrocuted the animal, which was around 25 years old, and took the tusks. The accused had dug a trench using an earth-moving machine to bury him.

Ms Gandhi, in her letter, said animal rights activists, led by Sharath Babu, informed the police of the tusks. Bengaluru Police had booked the case. “Local MP Prajwal Revanna attempted to exert unlawful pressure to have the matter transferred to the local Forest Department so that the matter could be closed,” she alleged.

Local Forest Department officers registered a new case in Hassan and arrested two more people and encouraged the others to flee so that the CK Achukattu police could not arrest them. The defendant addressed the court, alleging duplication of work by two different agencies. Thus, all the defendants were able to obtain bail with the active connivance of Hassan Forest staff. Subsequently, Bengaluru Police transferred the case to Hassan RFO. She accused RFO Hassan of being primarily responsible for the “subversion of the law”.

Ms Gandhi said she would be grateful if the whole matter was taken out of the Hassan Forest Department and handed over to the Vigilance Department. “RFO should also be investigated for corruption,” she said.

The DCF denies the accusation

When The Hindu contacted Ravindra Kumar, DCF (Vigilance) of Hassan, the officer said the allegations against the RFO were not true. “We requested the transfer of the case to Hassan with a genuine intention to investigate the case and ensure that the culprits are punished. The incident happened in our area. Our RFO has arrested two people in this case,” he said.

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