Kerala

Kerala Forest department suspends two officials over disappearance of seized goods

The Forest department has decided to suspend two officials in connection with the disappearance of 10 idols carved out of sandalwood that were stored in the Paruthippally forest range office after being confiscated in a 2016 case.

Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran issued directions to suspend Divya S.S. Rose and R. Vinod who had officiated as Paruthippally forest range officers during the time the material evidence was stored in the strongroom of the range office. The move has come following a preliminary probe conducted by the Head of Forest Force Bennichen Thomas.

In a statement, Mr. Saseendran said the officials had erred in ensuring proper stock management of evidence kept under their custody. He also instructed the department to exercise caution in preserving material evidence that was stored in various offices.

The sandalwood artefacts had been seized by the department from a Muttathara native in 2016. The strongroom at the Paruthippally forest range office and the Forest headquarters were searched for these items when the case came up for trial in the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court (Forest Offences) in Nedumangad. It was ascertained that the items had gone missing from the range office after they did not figure in the entry register maintained at the headquarters.

The Kattakkada police have also commenced investigation into the alleged theft of the material objects on the basis of a complaint by the current Paruthippally forest range officer.


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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 10:15:34 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-forest-department-suspends-two-officials-over-disappearance-of-seized-goods/article65600646.ece