Panaji, Feb 10, The kin of two alleged tiger poachers had gone to meet state Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane after a case was registered against them, a couple of months following the killing of a tiger in Goa.
The tiger was killed at the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary in North Goa, about 60 km from here.
Confidential investigation documents in possession of IANS, sourced from the Goa chief conservator of forest (CCF) Shashi Kumar’s office, also describes how the tiger was poached and how evidence was carefully destroyed by the accused — Gopal and Nagesh Majik and their kin — after forest department officials started probing the case.
“On the way to Panaji, it was learnt we were proceeding to meet ‘Baba’ (health minister Vishwajeet Rane), but since Baba was not at his residence, the jeep was turned back at Old Goa,” Ankush Majik, who took photographs of the tiger carcass, has said in his statement to the forest department.
Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane is the son of Goa legislative assembly speaker Pratapsing Rane, who represents Poriem, the constituency in which the tiger was killed.
The statement was made available to IANS by forest department officials.
“When I reached close by I saw the tiger was dead and it was giving a foul smell as it was injured by a cable around its belly which was visible and was covered with flies,” Majik has said in his statement, adding that it was Nagesh Majik who shot the tiger dead.
Unlike statements recorded in police custody which cannot be admitted as evidence in a criminal trial, statements recorded by forest department officials can be used as evidence in court.
Kumar, when contacted, refused to comment on the investigations. Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane was unavailable for comment.
Top officials of the forest department have already been criticised for trying to sabotage the probe. Noted wildlife activist Rajendra Kerkar, who first exposed the tiger poaching episode by reporting it with a photograph in a newspaper, has been named abettor in the poaching episode.