State Govt panel finds violation of SOP in T1 tigress’ shooting

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Dec 2018 09:56:59


By Ramesh Marulkar,

NTCA committee blames Asghar Ali Khan for using unauthorised gun for shooting the tigress

The committees consituted by State Government and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to probe into shooting of T1 tigress in Relagaon tehsil, blamed Asghar Ali Khan for shooting T1 tigress unauthorisedly and violating Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act. According to sources in Mantralaya, the State Government committee prima facie found violations of provisions of the Arms Act, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and Wildlife Protection Act during shooting the tigress.

The committee headed by Dr S H Patil, PCCF, Nagpur, consisted of Dr Ullas Karatnh of Centre for Wildlife Studies, Bangalore, Aneesh Andheria of Wildlife Conservation Trust, Mumbai, Dr Parag Nigam, Dr Bilal Habib, both Scientists of Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and Nitin Kakodkar, APCCF, Nagpur.

The committee conducted investigation and field visits in Pandharkawda Forest Division, Yavatmal district, from November 18 to 20 submitted its report to Vikas Kharage, Secretary, Forest, at Mumbai on Wednesday, after holding a meeting at Mumbai one day before. The report has been sent to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest for opinion. The report is more or less similar to that of findings of the NTCA committee.

The Government committee has increased its doubts about Asghar Ali Khan, son of Nawab Shafat Ali Khan, a sharp-shooter, in not cooperating with Forest Department by surrending tranquilising gun, rifle, empty shell of cartridge, drug etc. Even though Nawab claims to have deposited license, gun and rifle with Telangana Government due to imposition of code of conduct for Assembly elections, he should have at least submitted a receipt of it with the department.  About tranquilising the tigress, the committee has mentioned that the dart did not penetrate deep into the muscle while forensic analysis report is awaited, informed sources.

After studying the issue, the committee has recommended to the government to prepare a detailed SOP on the lines of NTCA, keeping independent veterinary cadre and making capacity building of the people.

Meanwhile, the finding of the NTCA is that Asghar Ali used the unauthorised weapon to eliminate T1 tigress as he has not produced any authorisation from his father to use the gun in his absence. Delegation of powers vested under Section 11 (1) of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 by the Chief Wildlife Warden and authorisation of person by CCF (T), Yavatmal, to capture or eliminate tigress (Schedule 1 species) under Section 11 (1) (a) is violation of Section 5 (2) of the said act.

After firing the dart by unauthorised Mukbhir Sheikh, Forester, Asghar Ali Khan shot the T1 from the moving vehicle within 3-5 seconds. The dart was used after lapse of around 56 hours on November 2. In veiw of the facts the firing in self-defence is doubtful. In case the animal was shot on attack, the bullet trajectory will go from front to the caudal part of the body. In view of the facts emerged out from provisional post mortem report, the firing in self-defence is doubtful, said the report.

Veterinary drugs were handeled by unauthorised person during the operation. The committed consisted of O P Kaler, APCCF (retd), Jose Louies, Deputy Director, Wildlife Trust of India, and Hemant Kamdi, Regional Office, Nagpur.
Meanwhile, Asghar Ali Khan could land in trouble in view of the violations.