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Tiger skin goes missing from official custody in Asifabad

Kumram Bheem Asifabad: Mystery shrouded the skin of a tiger, which was in the custody of a forest official of Bejjur mandal, after it went missing, allegedly many weeks ago.

Authorities of the Forest Department lodged a complaint with the police a few days ago. They said a joint investigation by cops and officials of the department was being carried into the incident.

The skin, which belonged to a big cat poached in neighbouring Maharashtra, was seized by the authorities when it was being transported on a motorbike by two persons at Hetiguda village in Bejjur on November 21 of 2016.

Following a tip-off, Bejjur Range Officer Rammohan and his team intercepted the duo and recovered the skin before booking a case against the offenders, Pedem Sudhakar, a native of Kethini village and Burri Santhosh, a resident of Gudem village of Chintalamanepalli mandal.

A local court, which was hearing the case, directed the Forest Department to preserve the skin in the custody of Bejjur Range Forest Section Officer (FSO) Venugopal Rao. But, he had kept it in a room belonging to Forest Beat Officer Ravinder, who was unwell for the past few months. Subsequently, it went missing from the room apparently due to the negligence of officials concerned, allegedly many weeks ago.

However, the incident came to light when Rao was replaced by another FSO recently. Rao was suspended for showing apathy in prohibiting encroachment of forest lands. He handed over all official records except for the skin to the newly posted officer after latter assumed charges.
“Poachers usually form a network and try to steal the skin, fearing consequences of the case.

They might have planned it for quite long time and committed the offence. The trophy was stored in a room which was locked twice. It cannot easily be accessed unless there are some masterminds behind the act,” a senior official of the Forest Department opined.

When asked, Kaghaznagar Forest Divisional Officer A Narasimha Reddy told ‘Telangana Today’ that statements of officials who were involved with storing of the skin were recorded as part of the departmental inquiry. But, no clue was found on how it went missing or was stolen. So, a complaint was lodged with Bejjur cops. Both police and authorities of the Forest Department are now jointly probing into the incident, he informed.

The post Tiger skin goes missing from official custody in Asifabad appeared first on Telangana Today.

from Telangana – Telangana Today

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