HC orders release of car seized six months ago

Forest officials say carcass of wild cat was found in the vehicle, but pellets were not recovered


Taking into account the lacunae in investigation of a case of the carcass of a wild cat being found in a car, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ordered the release of the vehicle seized by the Velimalai Reserve Forest Range Officer in Kanniyakumari district.

It was alleged that the carcass of the wild cat was found inside the car along with air guns, following which the vehicle was seized six months ago. The owner of the vehicle, K. Viji, filed a petition before the High Court seeking release of the car and refuted the allegation of having killed the wild cat.

However, the forest officials wanted the custody of the vehicle as they were yet to recover the pellets from the car after they had ascertained that there were no pellets in the carcass. They submitted that it was likely that the pellets were in the car.

Justice V. Parthiban observed that six months had passed since the car was seized. The forensic team would have searched the vehicle with a fine-toothed comb for collection of evidence. However, the pellets were yet to be recovered.

By now, investigative procedures ought to have been completed. The investigative lacunae could not be allowed to continue to the detriment of the petitioner by keeping the vehicle in the open, thereby increasing the depreciable value of the vehicle, the judge said.

Ordering the release of the vehicle, the court also directed the petitioner facing trial for the offence under the Wildlife Protection Act to submit necessary documents to establish ownership of the vehicle and deposit the registration certificate book with the Special Judge, Forest Offences, Nagercoil.

The petitioner was further directed to deposit a non-refundable amount of ₹50,000 with the lower court and give an undertaking that she would not use the vehicle for any illegal activities in the future. The petitioner should not alienate the vehicle till the disposal of the trial, the court said.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 8:13:26 PM |

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