KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday directed seven persons accused in elephant poaching cases registered under different forest stations to surrender before the investigation officer within one week.
The court held that the police should conduct investigation into the cases in a civilised manner, without subjecting the accused to torture. Justice A Hariprasad issued the order while disposing of the anticipatory bail plea filed by Romin Alby of Muttathara; Antony of Kadiyar; Sreekandan Nair of Muttathara; Shoja Priston of Pettah; Ravi of Chakka; William Silva of Pettah; Lakshmanan of Maradi; Ambika of Maradi; Vijayan of Chirayinkeezhu and Amanshad of Pettah. The petitioners approached the court apprehending arrest in poaching cases registered under the Kerala Forest Act and the Wildlife Protection Act. The prosecution pointed out that during a patrol in the reserve forest, the Edamalayar Wildlife Deputy Range Forest Officer had found the putrefied dead body of an elephant, with the tusks missing.
An investigation revealed that the elephant was poached for extracting its tusks. The probe agency also got information on poaching of wild elephants within the limits of the Karimbani and Athirappally forest stations. Additional Director General of Prosecution Tom Jose Padinjarekkara submitted that custodial interrogation of the accused was highly essential. The court observed that the prosecution could not be blamed for not registering formal arrest of the accused in a subsequent case, while they were in custody. The court directed the police to produce the accused persons before the Magistrate Court, after interrogation. “The petitioners are free to seek bail from the Magistrate concerned, and the court shall consider the bail and pass appropriate order,” the order stated.