By Seema Sharma
DEHRADUN: The state government has set up an inquiry against S S Sharma, principal chief conservator of forests, on the allegations leveled against him by former head of forest department's anti-poaching cell S K Dutt. Sharma has been accused of wrongdoings during his tenure as chief wildlife conservator in December last year also by Gauri Maulekhi, member-secretary People for Animals and Ajay Bhatt, leader of opposition in Uttarakhand assembly. However, Sharma has welcomed the development and said the probe will give him an opportunity to clear his position.
Ranbir Singh, principal secretary of the forest department, told TOI, "Chief minister Harish Rawat has given directions to conduct an inquiry into the allegation leveled against Sharma. Senior IAS officer S Raju will probe the entire matter."
"I welcome the probe as it will help me in clearing my name and position. I am not shocked at the development," Sharma said.
SK Dutt had written a letter to senior officials in December last year complaining against Sharma. The letter alleged that Sharma sat on some 100 letters sent by Dutt with regard to poaching activities in the state at various places between 2011 and to 2013. Dutt also alleged that owing to Sharma's neglect, poachers were on a rampage in both Garhwal and Kumon regions, killing all sorts of endangered wild species. Sharma was also accused of harassing Dutt and not providing him the required manpower and resources to counter poaching.
Gauri Maulekhi had complained against Sharma to National Tiger Conservation Authority and Ministry of Environment and Forests citing his lackluster attitude in containing poaching . "S S Sharma has been a disaster as a chief wildlife warden then and now as principal chief conservator of forests. He always favored poachers and worked against the officers who tried to contain poaching in the state. A fair investigation must be conducted into all his wrongdoings," she said.