CB Takes Over Athgarh Jumbo Poaching Probe (Bhubaneswar, India)


The New Indian Express

Date Published


The Crime Branch (CB) of State Police has taken over probe into the poaching of a tusker in Athgarh Forest Division.

The Wildlife Wing of the State Government entrusted the case to the CB since it was a brutal and critical incident.

A CB team visited Dalijoda forests where the poachers had beheaded the tusker and made away with the ivory last week. Officials of Athgarh Forest Division are also assisting the CB.

Sources said all usual suspects of Badamba and Narasinghpur areas have been kept under scanner. The CB sources believe that the tusks have not yet gone out of local areas yet. During preliminary investigation, the probe team found that the poachers had set up a camp near a water body where a fire-place and empty beer bottles were also found.

The forest sleuths and investigators will have their task cut out since Athgarh is a politically charged area and resistance to police action is a regular feature. Despite being a hotbed for elephant poaching, the cops find it difficult to penetrate into some of the dens where hunters and smugglers are embedded. In the current year, at least eight elephants have died in the division.

Since Athgarh serves as a corridor for elephants and tigers between Satkosia and Similipal Tiger landscape, it holds significance. Curiously, the State Government is yet to appoint a full-time DFO for Athgarh after the previous officer SS Mishra was arrested by State Vigilance for possessing assets disproportionate to known sources of his income. Currently, Chandaka DFO is in additional charge of the division.

The poaching incident had come to light on Thursday evening. On March 20, a female elephant and her calf were electrocuted in the division.