By Express News Service
COIMBATORE: Activists alleged that the suspension of forester from Boluvampatti forest range Rajesh Kumar on the charges of swindling public money collected through entrance fee at Kovai Courtallam, with the help of former forest ranger T Saravanan, who is currently working in Madurai division, is an eyewash and demanded the state government to order a detailed inquiry into the incident.
They alleged that both of them couldn’t have carried out the operation without any help from senior officials. An activist said, “The Tamil Nadu Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests Supriya Sahu should recommend the police or DVAC to conduct a detailed inquiry to identify the real culprits since the inquiry by the department can be biased.”
Founder of Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust N Sadiq Ali said, “The newly recruited foresters and forest range officers have paid huge sums of money to the forest department to get their postings and hence, they are trying various ways to take back their money. The newly recruited forest staff are not conducting inspections, which has led to increase in illegal activities in the forest. We suspect that few more persons have been involved in the looting and Rajesh Kumar should be terminated from service immediately.”
However, Conservator of forest and Field Director of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve S Ramasubramanian said that no other staff is involved in the scam except the two of them. “We had approached Karunya police station for filing a complaint, but the inspector instructed us not to file a complaint as we got back `35 lakh. We will soon file a charge sheet against the forester,” said Ramasubramanian.
Supriya Sahu told TNIE, “We are investigating about the involvement of other staff. Police inquiry will be conducted if needed since as per norms, criminal case is lodged in cases related to financial embezzlement.”