With more cases of tiger poaching coming out or likely to come out in advent of more arrest of poachers, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) needs to be given a renewed mandate now for investigating the cases, feel wildlife experts.
Amid lot of hue and cry from all sections, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan ordered a CBI probe into tiger and bear poaching cases in the region. But even after a month the state issued a notification, CBI is yet to start investigations. Documents show that till September 17, the case papers were not handed over to the agency by the state forest officials.
The mandate for the CBI was to investigate poaching of a tiger in Dhakna in Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) on March 4, followed by killing of a bear in East Melghat on May 29 and poaching of a tiger and trade of body parts of five tigers on June 8. The dates resemble to primary offence reports (POR).
As per the mandate, CBI SP Ravindra Singh at Delhi on September 6 had sought copies of FIRs in the cases and their present status for its final view. However, as forest officials did not submit any papers, CBI sent a reminder on September 17.
However, wildlife experts and a section of officials now feel that the ambit of CBI inquiry needs to be widened as state forest department and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) with the help of police have already nabbed at least 15 accused in Melghat and other poaching cases.
Confession by arrested tiger skin trader Sarju Bagdi alias Surajbhan from Delhi about trafficking of 13 tiger skins from here by various traders and his revelation to TOI about more than 20 tiger skins being smuggled out from Pench-Kanha corridor and Vidarbha in the last nine months, calls for renewed mandate to CBI. More....