|Villagers who poisoned tiger cubs released as officials fail to file charges
Times of Indianewslink
Rachna Singh, TNN, May 18, 2010
A local court in Sawai Madhopur has released two villagers, accused of
killing two 17-month-old tiger cubs, on bail after forest authorities
could not file a chargesheet against them within 60 days.
two villagers had poisoned the cubs on the outskirts of Ranthambore
Tiger Reserve after the big cats killed their goats. Ram Khiladi Gujjar
and Mukesh Gujjar of Tadla Khet village, on the outskirts of the
reserve, were released by the court last Friday. The two were arrested
on March 8, the day the cubs were found dead.
are responsible for not filing the chargesheet even as they had all the
details. The forensic lab report had confirmed a case of poisoning; the
goats' carcasses were found on the spot; and the shop from where the
pesticide was identified," said Fateh Singh, vice-chairman, Tiger
Watch, an NGO, in Ranthambore. "This will send a wrong message to the
villagers who may take such grievous crimes lightly," added Fateh Singh.
killing of tiger cubs had sent shock waves across the country and the
state forest department acted swiftly by arresting the two accused. "We
didn't file the chargesheet as third accused Narsi Gujjar is
absconding," explained RS Shekhawat, deputy field director, Ranthambore
Sources in legal circles point out that killing a
tiger is a non-bailable offence. However, as per a Supreme Court
verdict, if the chargesheet is not filed in such cases within the
stipulated 60 days or 90 days as the case may be, the accused can be
released on bail.
"The time period for filing the chargesheet
varies from crime to crime. In this case, it was 60 days but the
authorities mistook it for 90 days and did not file the chargesheet,"
said a government counsel.