By Vijay Pinjarkar
NAGPUR: Eight months after it was approached to investigate poaching of tigers in the region, the Central Bureau of Investigation, took over the on Friday.
The state government had written to CBI director Ranjit Sinha on July 26, 2013 requesting for probe in the poaching of tigers. State notification to this effect was published in August last week. The CBI started collecting relevant papers from September.
"Finally, the probe has been handed over to the CBI officials from Navi Mumbai who were in the city on Friday," confirmed principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Sarjan Bhagat.
Bhagat added the probe was handed over to CBI last year but Central government notification was issued in March first week.
In August last year, the CBI was given a mandate to probe three tiger poaching cases. The arrest of 21 poachers and tiger skin traders revealed that it was not just three tigers but nearly 25. Forest officials have reached a figure of 16 so far.
When asked, APCCF for wildlife (east) SS Mishra said the CBI probe will expose national and cross-border links of organized poachers. "The CBI probe will have no affect on the ongoing court cases. We will continue to fight them," Mishra added.
However, official sources said the list of wanted poachers has touched 56. Of these 21 have been arrested and 35 remain absconding. The CBI will help the forest department to nab absconders. "We will now work jointly," said Mishra.