CHANDIGARH: Punjab minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu is again in the midst of a controversy. This time for gifting a stuffed partridge to chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, which he had brought from Pakistan.
Sources said to save Sidhu, the CM gave the stuffed partridge to the Punjab Wildlife department instead of the Chandigarh Wildlife department. It means that the state wildlife department will now conduct the inquiry.
The chief minister’s office (CMO) had sent the partridge to the Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, the same day it was gifted. The CMO also attached a letter enquiring if the CM can keep the bird.
Sources said that the Chandigarh Wildlife Department has written to the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and informed that they are unable to conduct an inquiry as the bird is with the Punjab Wildlife Department and they will now conduct the inquiry.
The AWBI had asked the Chandigarh Wildlife Department to submit a report within three days.
Ordering an inquiry, AWBI chairman SP Gupta had asked director general of forests, Siddhanta Das, to send a report in case an offence has been committed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
A Ludhiana-based wildlife activist Dr Sandeep K Jain, who is also the honorary State Animal Welfare Officer, filed a complaint with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and said that the gifting a partridge is a violation of the Wildlife Act.
Sidhu had received the stuffed black partridge as a gift from a Pakistani journalist during his visit to the neighbouring country during the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor. He had gifted it to the CM after returning to India.
Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, Kuldeep Kumar said, “The matter has been referred to me and action will be taken according to rules.”