KOCHI: The state government issued a notification paving way for Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take over the probe into the Edamalayar elephant poaching case and ivory trade. The notification is a follow-up of the decision to transfer the case to CBI for further investigation by the state forest department.
In reply to a RTI query submitted by V K Venkitachalam, secretary of Heritage Animal Task Force, Geetha J R, under secretary, State Public Information officer, said that a letter signed by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy (No 79785/M.3/2015/Home) seeking CBI investigation into the case has been sent to the Center. Though the letter seeking investigation into the case was signed by the Chief Minister on 12 August, the state government did not receive any reply from the Centre or CBI until September 26 , the RTI reply said.
In reply to another question on whether CBI had informed the government of any inconvenience in taking over the case, the public information officer said the state has not received any such communication from the agency. This means that the notification will pave way for a CBI investigation into the case, said Venkitachalam. However, he expressed anguish over the delay in launching CBI investigation into the case especially with the local body and assembly elections round the corner in the state.
The investigation into the case by the forest department has so far led to the arrest of around 30 persons connected with poaching and ivory trade. The officials have recovered the carcass of around 17 elephants which were hunted down by poachers led by Aikkaramattom Vasu.