Bhubaneswar: The State Government on Thursday formed a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate elephant deaths and recovery of skeletal remains of jumbos in the Athagarh forest division in Cuttack district.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Odisha has constituted the high-level special investigation team led by Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF). A wildlife conservator and a senior official of the crime Branch not less than DSP rank are two other members of the probe team. The DFO will no longer be a part of the investigating team, said PCCF (wild life) Shashi Paul.
“The SIT will ascertain whether there are more such occurrences in the division. They will go into details of forward and backward linkages and examine the involvement of inter-state organised wildlife crime syndicates in these cases,” said the terms of reference set for the probe panel.
The team, which will function under overall supervision of Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife), can co-opt any experts or scientific members in the committee. It has been asked to submit the detailed report after the investigation within one month.
The suppression of elephant deaths in the forest division has brought under scanner the roles of senior officers.
Taking cognizance of the killing of a young tusker allegedly by poachers in the division, the Centre on Wednesday sought an action taken report from the State Government and also suggested strict action against the persons responsible for the incident.
Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav has also told the State Government to take strict action against poachers who shot dead an elephant.
“The Ministry has taken cognizance of the incident and the matter has been taken up with the state government for strict action against the poachers to ensure protection of our wildlife heritage,” he had tweeted.