Two separate committees- one formed by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) and the other formed by Maharashtra State will begin its investigations into the killing of tigress T1 also called Avni, who was shot dead by by Asghar, son of controversial Hyderabad-based hunter Nawab Shafath Ali Khan on the night of November 2.
A senior forest official from Maharashtra said that the committee was formed under the direction of State Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar to find out facts on whether guidelines and procedures were followed in the matter of tigress T1. “PCCF SH Patil is the chairman while APCCF Nitin Kakodkar is the convenor of the committee, which will include Anish Andheria, President of Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) along with Bilal Habib from Wildlife Institute of India (WII),” said the official adding that this committee will have to submit its report by November 22.
Speaking to DNA, Andheria who is a member of the State committee said that he was informed that he is part of a three-membered committee. “We will investigate step by step the events that led to the death of the tigress T1 and look at all aspects from the very initial days to all the evidence from the post-mortem report,” he said.
Meanwhile the MOEFCC committee that will carry out enquiry into the final operation carried out by the State of Maharashtra will have OP Kaler, Additional PCCF (Retired) and Jose Louies, Deputy Director and Chief, Wildlife Control Division and Communications, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) as members while Hemant Kamdi, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Regional Office, Nagpur as it Convenor and will submit its report by November 26.
According to the sources, both committees are the result of huge public outcry including that by experts and conservationists who raised several questions over the manner in which, the entire operation including the shooting of Avni, which allegedly was responsible for 13 human deaths in Yavatmal took place.
The tigress was shot from close range near Borati village on Borati- Warud- Ralegaon road late at night and the official account that followed was that the tigress was first tranquilised but soon after the dart had hit her she charged at the open gypsy that had Asghar and other forest staff, following which, Asghar shot the tigress in self-defence.
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