In the second such incident in a month, a mahout was arrested for allegedly using his elephant to seek alms from public here on Monday. Following arrest, the 22-year-old female jumbo was brought to the police station.
According to police, B Sasikumar (22) of Ramavarma Nagar in K Pudhur, was the mahout of the 22-year-old elephant Malaji Jeyapriya, owned by Ashok Kumar of South Gate. Based on a tip-off, a team from Karimedu police station, rushed to Arapalayam and arrested Sasikumar on charge of using the elephant to seek alms from the public.
However, on interrogation, Sasikumar said that he was not using the pachyderm to collect alms, but fruits and coconuts.
The eatables were given by public as an offering to the elephant between Puttuthoppu and SS Colony.
Meanwhile, police called Ashok Kumar, owner of the elephant, to the station, who corroborated the statement of the mahout.
Ashok told Express that Sasikumar was taking the elephant to S S Colony for a Gaja Pooja function scheduled for Tuesday. However, devotees along the road had given fruits meant for the pachyderm. “I will never use my elephant for such activities. I take good care of her and rent it for temple and private functions. I have a license from the Forest department and look after her as per the guidelines laid down by the government,” Ashok added.
Police said that a case under section 11(1) (a) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, was registered. However, the elephant and its mahout were later released on bail.
It may be recalled that Karimedu police had arrested a mahout for using his elephant to seek alms on July 6. As the explanation given by the owner and the mahout then was also on similar lines, police have decided to hold a meeting with forest officers in connection with such cases.