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Forest officer quits Corbett investigation

Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi quit the probe Tuesday, citing contradictory statements of senior government officials over his appointment.

Written by Avaneesh Mishra | Dehradun |
November 10, 2021 3:00:24 am
The committee had prepared the report after visiting the site between Pakhrau Forest Rest House (FRH) and Kalagarh FRH in Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand.

A week after being appointed as the Investigating Officer to probe alleged illegal constructions and tree felling in Corbett Tiger Reserve, Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi quit the probe Tuesday, citing contradictory statements of senior government officials over his appointment.

Head of Forest Force Rajiv Bhartari had appointed Chaturvedi as the Investigating Officer on November 2 upon receipt of a site inspection report on October 22 by a committee constituted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The committee had prepared the report after visiting the site between Pakhrau Forest Rest House (FRH) and Kalagarh FRH in Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand.

In his letter to Bhartari, Chaturvedi said, “In my career I have conducted unbiased and lawful probes into hundreds of corruption cases… Those probes have earned the appreciation of institutions like the CBI, the CVC and parliamentary panels. But never did my very appointment to probe a case evoke the kind of nervousness, fear, confusion and apprehension as in this case.” He also enclosed a copy of a Hindi newspaper report which quoted Chief Wildlife Warden J S Suhag stating the matter (the right to conduct an inquiry) falls under his jurisdiction.

When contacted, Bhartari said Suhag had appointed Additional Principal Conservator of Forests BK Gangte as the investigation officer, but Gangte refused stating another person (Chaturvedi) had already been nominated.

“The Chief Wildlife Warden has no authority to direct Gangte. I took the decision after a lot of thought and after receiving directions from the Uttarakhand government,” he said.

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