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SIT to probe recovery of leopard, tiger remains in Rajaji

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By Arun Pratap Singh

DEHRADUN, 25 Mar: An SIT probe has been ordered into the infamous case of recovery of tiger and leopard remains in March last year in Rajaji National Park. It may be recalled that even the CBI inquiry ordered earlier into the case by the Uttarakhand High Court had got embroiled in controversies, following which the CBI had been called off.
This is one of the most curious cases where some very senior officers of the Forest Department were allegedly involved either in poaching or in a conspiracy to target some fellow forest officers. Earlier, several internal inquiries ordered by the government as well as the state forest department had also failed to bring out the truth. IFS Officer Komal Singh was the first officer to inquire into the incident. However, before he could conclude his probe, he was replaced by another IFS officer, Manoj Chandran. The probe had found Forest Ranger Anoop Gusain to be guilty along with two junior officials who were suspended forthwith. However, it was felt by the government and many independent observers and environmentalists that the probe had failed to nail the truth and had failed to point fingers at the conspirators. As a result, the High Court had ordered a CBI inquiry which unfortunately got embroiled in controversies. A stay on this inquiry was also granted by the Supreme Court. It may be recalled that there was a serious difference of opinion on the probe between Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat and Additional Chief Secretary Ranbir Singh, who had by an order replaced Manoj Chandran as the inquiry officer with Sanatan Sonkar, who happens to be the Rajaji National Park Director. But Rawat again appointed Chandran as the inquiry officer in place of Sonkar. But the probe could not be completed. Now the government has decided to order an SIT probe.