The curious case of the leopard in Maharashtra's Karad taluka is getting murkier, with a blame game going on between police and Forest Department officials.

A day after State Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam ordered an enquiry into the case registered against Vikas Dhas, the police officer who shot the leopard dead on Sunday, the police questioned the action of the forest officials.

The leopard entered the busy town area in the afternoon on Sunday.

Having injured five people, it had another person in its claws when Vikas Dhas stepped in and shot two rounds, killing the beast.

‘Whom to let live'

According to him, “it was choosing between the life of a person and that of a beast.” The Forest Department on Monday filed a case against Mr. Dhas under the Wildlife Protection Act.

“The forest officials should have reached the spot within 15 minutes. But they reached only after 30-40 minutes. Assistant Police Officer Dhas reached the spot within five minutes. If they had not filed a case against our officer they would have been answerable. This is not fair. Why should our officer be sacrificed?” Karad Police Inspector Murlidhar Muluk told The Hindu.

How did it go unnoticed?

Meanwhile, activist Nana Khamkar has filed a petition with the police stating that they should investigate how the leopard came into the busy part of the city, and was not noticed for eight hours. Mr. Khamkar wondered whether the leopard was let into the city deliberately.

Statement

awaited

However, Forest Range officer D.K. Padval denied this allegation. Speaking to The Hindu, he said Mr. Dhas' statement about how and why he killed the beast was awaited as a part of the investigation process.