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Odisha govt forms SIT to probe elephant deaths in Athagarh forest division

ANI | Updated: Jun 17, 2022 03:30 IST

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], June 17 (ANI): The Odisha Government on Thursday formed a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the death and the recovery of elephants skeletons from Athagarh Forest Division in Cuttack district.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Shashi Paul told ANI, "A Special Investigation Team has been formed to investigate the matter and it will submit its report within one month."
The SIT will be headed by Regional Chief Conservator of Forest (RCCF) Anugul Circle as Chairman, the Conservator of Forest (ET), he said.

As per an official order from the Department of Forest, Environment & Climate Change, the Special Task Force, Crime Branch, Bhubaneswar on June 2 and 3 has excavated skull and skeleton of two elephants on two different sites under the Athagarh Forest Division.
"The recovery of skull and skeleton of two elephants inside a single Beat area of one Section in Badamba Range indicates that there is serious lapse by the departmental staff and has given rise to allegations of their connivance and willful concealment of facts In this regard, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) is hereby constituted to investigate into the cases."
As per the enquiry order, "Team will carry out a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the instant two cases keeping in view various angles such as alleged connivance of staff, criminal negligence and willful concealment of facts."
"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 possibilities of involvement of inter-state organized wildlife crime syndicates in these cases. They can co-opt any expert/scientific member in the committee."
On Tuesday, the Union Ministry of Environment & Forest sought a report from Odisha Government on various news regarding the male elephant found injured by gunshots in Athagarh. (ANI)