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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cops clueless about suspected poachers gang in Tadoba

TNN | Jun 7, 2012, 01.07AM IST CHANDRAPUR: Forest department has failed to trace a suspected poachers' gang that is reported to have intruded into Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) three days ago. Forest officials have sought the help of police department to investigate the intrusion of a gang inside the tiger reserve. A formal complaint has been filed with Chimur police station asking the cops to look into the matter. A gang of 8-10 people clad in black dresses had intruded from Wamangaon side of TATR into the tiger reserve on Sunday night. The gang was seen by three forest labourers deployed at Wamangaon protection hut in reserve territory. The gang had fled deeper into the reserve jungle. Since then, patrolling, both by vehicles and on foot, has been intensified. However, TATR staffers have failed to trace the gang inside the tiger reserve. Even forest officers are clueless whether they are still inside the reserve or left the jungle. "We have searched the entire territory, but have found no trace of the gang. It is likely that it was gang of thieves which had sought shelter into the jungle. The possibility of them being poachers appears weak but we have not ruled it out," said an official. He said that they have filed a complaint with Chimur police station and sought help of police to investigate into the matter. Chimur PSO Panjabrao Madavi said a complaint about intrusion of the gang was received, but held that no offence had been registered into the matter so far. "We have received the complaint, which has been kept under investigation. We have mobilized our informers and are also checking whether there is anybody, other than protection hut labourers, who had seen the gang," he said. Madavi also pointed out flaws in the forest department's theory of intruders being gang of thieves or robbers. "Thieves are shrewd and usually their hideout is secluded. Such people could have never walked to the protection hut where they were seen by labourers. Moreover, what is point in hiding in the jungle where there is serious threat of being attacked by tigers, sloth bears and other predator?" he said. He held that possibility of gang belonging to poachers is high, still cops are investigating to find any clue about their whereabouts.

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