By Vijay Pinjarkar
Bewildered by the startling revelations made by three arrested tiger poachers, the wildlife wing has constituted a five-member core team of forest officials to dig deep into the poaching incidents in the area.
The team was set up on June 19, by SS Mishra, additional principal chief conservator of forests (APCCF), Nagpur, East, after discussions with chief wildlife warden SWH Naqvi.
The team includes assistant conservators of forest (ACFs) KA Mishrikotkar, AS Khune and PC Biswas, all from Gondia, ACF BP Rathod from Bhandara and Umesh Dhotekar, RFO of West Pench. All will work under divisional forest officer (DFO) for vigilance PD Masram and DFO (wildlife) CD Bharmal.
While the team will be assisted by more RFOs and foresters if need felt, no officer from Melghat, where poachers admitted to have killed tigers, has been included in the team.
"We have a separate plan for Melghat," said Mishra confirming that such a team had been set up. He added the ramifications of the poaching problem are wide and it is not the job of one or two officials to probe gamut of issue. The team will dig deep into the various incidents in the region.
A meeting of the team will be held at 10am on June 24 at Pench office. Small teams led by RFOs and foresters are likely to be constituted for the further investigation work and visit places and spots revealed by the three poachers - Siri, Badlu and Chika, who were arrested by forest and police officials.
Meanwhile, the three poachers were produced before judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) who remanded them to magisterial custody till July 3. One accused Jiyalal Bawankar of Buradghat (Paratwada), who made metal traps for the poachers has already been granted MCR.