By Vijay Pinjarkar
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is all set to announce a CBI inquiry into tiger poaching cases unearthed in Vidarbha between October 2012 and May 2013.
Gang of organized tiger poachers arrested in June first week by the forest and police officials in Mansar near Nagpur have confessed that their separate teams killed at least 11 tigers in the eight months. However, forest officials have recorded killing of only five tigers.
All the tiger skins were sold to Sarju Bagdi, a tiger skin and body parts trader from Haryana/Delhi in April and June by the poachers. First deal for six skins was struck in April in Bhandarbodi near Ramtek while another five skins were sold in June near Amdi.
The number may be even more if the 16 poachers whose names were revealed by arrested poachers Chika and Mamru are nabbed. The 11 tigers were killed in forests of Vidarbha and neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. The poachers have gone underground after arrest of their gang members.
Highly placed sources told TOI that after Chavan gave his nod, principal secretary (forests) Praveen Pardeshi is learnt to have written to CBI director Ranjit Sinha on July 26, requesting him for CBI probe into the poaching of tigers. Repeated attempts to contact Pardeshi proved futile.
Quoting leading wildlife experts like Belinda Wright of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) and Valmik Thapar of Ranthambor Foundation among others, TOI on June 19, was first to demand CBI probe. More....