KOCHI: The Forest officials investigating the Edamalayar elephant poaching case on Thursday made a major headway by arresting two key members involved in the case. While the Forest officials recorded the arrest of Manoj, a native of Iyrapuram near Perumbavoor, who provided shelter for the kingpin I Vasu at his farmhouse in Mumbai, the second accused in the case, Puthanpurakkal Eldoe, surrendered before the Kothamangalam JFMC in the morning.
With this, the officials have so far recorded the arrest of a total of 23 people in connection with the case. According to officials, though Vasu, a native of Koovappadam in Kuttampuzha and kingpin in the poaching case, was found dead at the farm house owned by Manoj in Dodamarg in Maharashtra on Monday, they could not substantiate whether Manoj has any role in the poaching racket and ivory tusk trade.
However, the officials are investigating if he has any in role in Vasu’s death and the racket run by Vasu, despite the fact that the local police had recovered a suicide note from the custody of the victim. Manoj also confessed to the officials that he had only a few weeks’ acquaintance with Vasu and when the forest lookout notice came to his attention, he had directed Vasu to leave the place. The officials also seized two guns from his house here, of which one was a typical double barrel gun used by poachers.
It was Eldos who used to transport the ivory tusk removed from the elephants killed by Vasu to Thiruvanathapuram where the ivory tusk trade racket is based. With the arrest of two, the forest officials received vital information about other people involved in the case and the ivory tusk racket.