Three more forest officers suspended in timber smuggling case

Close on the heels of suspension of five officers and staff for involvement in forest crimes, the Telangana Forest Department has placed three more of its officers under suspension for dereliction of duty. Forest Divisional Officer T.Venu Babu, Forest Range Officer B. Ram Mohan, and Deputy Range Officer A.Srinivas, all from Nizamabad district, have been suspended with immediate effect from Thursday.

They are accused of ignoring alerts about illegal smuggling of forest timber, back in 2018, which has been revealed during investigation into a fresh haul of forest timber being smuggled out of Adilabad district.

Police had busted the racket in which teak illegally felled from Adilabad forest was being transported and cut in saw mills of Nizamabad. In this connection, the police had seized two vehicles, and apprehended six persons.

Further investigation revealed connivance of one forester, one police officer, and a checkpost worker. The forest official who is absconding, has since been placed under suspension.

Based on the information given by the accused, four saw mills in Nizamabad, including one belonging to the deputy mayor of Nizamabad Municipal Corporation have been seized. Further enquiry has revealed that an alert about the illegal smuggling had been received way back in in May, 2018, but not investigated into by the officials. Keeping the gross negligence in mind, and their failure to supervise the saw mills, the department has placed the officials under suspension. This is the first time senior level forest officer of FDO rank has been suspended, a statement from the department informed.

Altogether eight Forest staff and officers are suspended in last two weeks, of whom four have been arrested also by the police. Three suspensions were related to tiger poaching in Nirmal district, and five to the illegal timber smuggling.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 5:16:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/three-more-forest-officers-suspended-in-timber-smuggling-case/article26083440.ece

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