Home Dehradun Action likely against IFS Kishan Chand in Corbett National Park case

Action likely against IFS Kishan Chand in Corbett National Park case

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By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 2 Aug: The government is likely to initiate action against senior Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Kishan Chand in the case related to illegal construction in Corbett National Park and Rajaji National Park. In this regard, the Vigilance Department has completed its investigation and also submitted its final report to the government. According to the Additional Director General of Police (ADG) Amit Sinha sufficient evidence has been gathered by the State Vigilance Department against the IFS officer Kishan Chand who is the main accused in the case. Kishan Chand, whose role in the case has been found to be a direct one has already retired. Kishan Chand has faced other allegations too including having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income and despite this, he managed to retire without much trouble on 30 June this year.
Kishan Chand is the main accused in the case. It may also be recalled that the illegal construction was carried out including felling of some trees as part of the then Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat’s dream project of Tiger Safari in Kotdwar. As a result, he is also under the radar for the scam, though, so far no investigation has been carried out against him as such.
Sources claimed that three IFS officers namely Kishan Chand, JS Suhag and Rajiv Bhartari were on the vigilance radar, though strong evidence has also been allegedly found during the investigation against IFS officer Kishan Chand. Rajiv Bhartari, who was then the Head of the Forest Department (HoFF) is considered to have ignored the facts that had first surfaced in 2018-19. It may be recalled that Bhartari has had an excellent career record prior to surfacing of this scam. His role appears to be related to dereliction of duty by not initiating action against the accused officials.
The Vigilance Department has investigated the illegal construction in Rajaji Park on the complaint of illegal felling as well as irregularities, finding sufficient evidence for action against the senior IFS officers posted in the state. It has submitted its final report in this case. The file is currently received at the Secretariat and the government’s permission is awaited to initiate action against the officers. Further investigation could be taken up once the permission is granted by the government against them by registering the case against the three.  In the preliminary investigation of the Vigilance, sufficient evidence has emerged in respect of charges such as illegal logging and encroachment in Corbett Park, encroachment in Ramnagar National Park, illegal felling of trees and illegal construction as well as financial irregularities. The irregularities had first surfaced during the year 2018-19. Vigilance Director Amit Sinha intimated that in Corbett National Park , clear evidence was available in respect of the allegations of encroachment and illegal construction.  During that time, alleged role of the then Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat had also hit headlines as he was keen to establish some of his pet projects including a Tiger Safari and a road linking Kotdwar to Kumaon region called Kandi Road.
However, that time, no inquiry had been ordered. The case made progress when investigation was handed over to the Vigilance Department as it involved alleged role of IFS officers.

According to the information, evidence has been found in the preliminary investigation against IFS Kishan Chand in particular and the Vigilance Department claims that the evidence gathered in the case during the course of preliminary investigation is enough to file a case and proceed further in the case. Under the Planning Authority scheme, an open investigation of illegal construction by encroachment in Ramnagar Corbett National Park was handed over to the Vigilance. After collecting preliminary information, the Vigilance started investigation on 21 November 2021. It is being told that during the tenure of former Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat, irregularities were committed in respect of the Centrally sponsored scheme CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority).