'Investigation into tiger killing on'
TNN, 12 February 2010, 05:43am IST
PANAJI: Denying any political pressure in the investigations into the Keri tiger killing case, and asserting that it is not the reason for the delay in recommencing the probe, forest minister, Felipe Neri Rodrigues, said that the next course of action will follow.
"There is no political pressure as I am the minister concerned," Rodrigues said. "The political pressure, if any, should have come from my side, but there is nothing like this," he added.
The minister did not react, however, when it was pointed out that the chief conservator of forests (CCF), Shashi Kumar, claimed he was not aware of the latest report from the Wildlife Institute of India (WWI), Dehra Dun, though it was received a fortnight ago.
In September 2009, Kumar, had brought the preliminary report-which stated that the samples did not match that of a tiger-promptly to the attention of the media.
This time around, the CCF, who was out of town till Saturday (February 6), said he was not aware about the WWI report and that it had been received by the deputy conservator of forests, North, who had sent the samples. Forest department sources, however, had confirmed that the report had been received at least a fortnight ago.
Refusing to comment on the CCF's statement, Rodrigues said the investigation will continue based on the WWI report. "The report was received by me today and I have issued directions so that the next course of action follows," the minister said.
He added that the forest department will also pursue the demand from environmentalists and NGO Mission Green-which are lobbying for the declaration of a tiger reserve in Goa-based on suggestions to be sought from members of the public.
The forest department, however, has been in denial mode about the existence of tigers in the state, despite a census count of five tigers in 2004.