In a first-of-its-kind case, a forest staff from Nagpur district has been arrested for allegedly shifting the carcass of a tigress from Deolapar range in the district to the neighbouring Khawasa range in Madhya Pradesh’s Seoni district. According to forest officials from Seoni, the act was done to shift the onus of the death of the tigress, identified as T19, popularly known as Sharmilee.
A press note issued by Seoni Conservator of Forest, P P Titare, said, “Carcass of a female tigress was found in Seoni range on December 11, 2019. Investigation showed that there were marks of a bullock-cart on the spot and no signs of any injury on the tigress’ body and no froth seen oozing out of its mouth. It led to suspicion that the tigress might have died elsewhere. The tigress was known to frequent areas in the neighbouring Maharashtra. Informers pointed to the presence of some forest staff from Deolapar on the spot on December 11. A probe led to one Dhamsingh Khandate, a forest labourer from Karwai area of Maharashtra. On January 31, he was detained while he was coming to Khawasa on his bike. An accomplice, who was driving the bike, fled the spot. Khandate has confessed that he had, as per directions of his Deputy Ranger, transported the carcass on the night of December 10 and had dumped it in the Khawasa range.”
Khandate was put under arrest on Saturday.
Seoni Chief Conservator of Forest R S Kori told The Indian Express, “We have informed our Maharashtra counterpart about our action. Their team will come to get more details soon.”
Asked what was the cause of tigress’s death, Kori said, “Post-mortem couldn’t establish the reason. We have sent the viscera for forensic test. Reason of death would be known in the forensic investigation.”
Nagpur Chief Conservator of Forest Kalyan Kumar said, “I will be able to comment only after seeing the documents regarding the case. I have sought them from the Seoni officials.”
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