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Tiger pelt lands spiritual guru in a spot of bother 

‘Going viral’ can be a proud moment but it can also land one in trouble.

Published: 07th January 2020 06:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th January 2020 02:47 PM   |  A+A-

Photo of the self-styled spiritual guru sitting on a tiger pelt

Photo of the self-styled spiritual guru sitting on a tiger pelt

Express News Service

BENGALURU: ‘Going viral’ can be a proud moment but it can also land one in trouble. A self-proclaimed spiritual guru in Karnataka has found himself in the dock after a photograph of him sitting on a tiger pelt went viral on various social media platforms on Monday. This picture has prompted the Karnataka Forest Department to take up search of the ashram.

In the photograph, Vinay Guruji, who has a mutt in Koppa taluk of Chikkamagaluru district, is seen sitting on the tiger pelt while interacting with a guest. Senior forest officials said they were informed about it a few days ago, but got into action on Monday after the news spread. Despite repeated attempts, the ashram staffers and Vinay Guruji were not available for comment. Later in the night, the forest officials found the skin at the asham.

Vinay Guruji, however, claimed that he had the certificate of ownership of the pelt and will submit it to the department, according to a forest official. The department officials were, however, not convinced. “Let him produce the documents. They will be verified to know where the hide is obtained from and if  it is genuine. The procedure will take a few days,” the official said.

‘Hide will be seized if the ashram has no certificate’

“Under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, it is an offence to keep wildlife items like hides, trophies and tusks without certificates and permission.If it is found to be genuine, then he will have to prove where he procured it from and if he has a certificate for it,” explained the forest official. “The hide will be seized if the ashram has no certificate for it. The law can also penalise the owner as per rules. The offence is punishable with 3 to 7 years imprisonment and fine not less than Rs 10,000,” the official added. 

During early 2000, the Karnataka forest department on the directions of the Ministry of Environment and Forests had issued a notification asking people to come forward with the wildlife items they possess and get certificates.Later, the MoEF decided not to continue with it.



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