By R. Chetan
The Chennammanakere Achukattu police had, last week, nabbed two poachers who were trying to sell a pair of elephant tusks worth over Rs 50 lakh in Banashankari 3rd Stage. An investigation into the case has now revealed startling facts that has stunned forest sleuths in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Police have found that Shivaswamy, one of the accused poachers, was mentored by his father Rudrappa, a notorious poacher against whom more than a dozen cases have been booked under the Wildlife Act by both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu forest sleuths. Police learnt of this detail on Wednesday when one of the accused took sleuths to the spot in Kodihalli range where the tusks were taken off from the elephant.
Rudrappa, Shivaswamy's father, is a resident of a village in Tamil Nadu close to the border with the state. Sleuths say he took advantage of this and began poaching in the forests of Karnataka. "Shivaswamy inherited the wildlife trade from his father," a senior forest official told Bangalore Mirror. "It is being probed if they have been associated with the infamous Anchetty gang which is believed to be active in the belt."
Sleuths say that for many years, Shivaswamy had accompanied and assisted his father on poaching trips. Rudrappa had formed a gang to run the trade and Shivaswamy was part of it, but for about a year now the son has been operating independently. Sources say Shivaswamy mainly targeted elephants, but his father had no such scruples.
Police say one, Chitte alias Mahadev, a member of the gang, is absconding. A joint operation by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka forest sleuths will unearth more details on the duo, the officer said.
Sleuths are trying to ascertain the cause of death of the elephant — whether it was poisoned, electrocuted, shot or died a natural death. Samples taken off the carcass are being sent to a lab to be analysed. The elephant is believed to have died within the last 45 days. Forest officials say that if it was killed, then it is bound to send alarm bells ringing.