Criminal case ordered against forest officer

August 09, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 04:11 am IST - MANGALURU

Officer Anita S. Arekal is charged with offences under IT Act and Telegraph Act

A magistrate’s court in Mangaluru has ordered registration of a criminal case under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 against senior Indian Forest Service official Anita S. Arekal. This is based on a private complaint filed by environmental activist Niren Jain.

Judicial Magistrate of First Class (II) Santhosh S. Kunder passed the order on a protest petition filed by Mr. Jain challenging the B-report submitted by the Mangaluru East police on the case. Ms. Arekal is charged under Sections 66 and 72 of the IT Act for seizing Mr. Jain’s personal computer, downloading the contents, and making them public under, and under Section 25 of the Telegraph Act for tampering with messages.

Ms. Arekal, who now works as Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Social Forestry), had raided Mr. Jain’s apartment on April 22, 2004, and seized his computer and accessories as the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Kudremukh Wildlife Division. She had filed a criminal case before the JMFC, Mudigere, alleging commission of forest offences and trespass into Kudremukh National Park.

On Mr. Jain’s writ petition, the Karnataka High Court on August 12, 2011, quashed the FIR saying the proceedings were maliciously instituted with the ulterior motive of wrecking vengeance on him. Though Mr. Jain had filed a private complaint before the JMFC, Mangaluru on March 19, 2005, the police filed a B-report in 2010. Mr. Jain subsequently filed a protest petition.

The JMFC court has ordered issue of summons to Ms. Arekal returnable by October 3.

Threatening activists

In a release here, Mr. Jain said the illegal raid was aimed at threatening him and other activists who were campaigning against continued iron ore mining in Kudremukh zone.

The HC had found that the raid was illegal as it was not authorised by any magistrate and no substantial cases were made out against Mr. Jain.

Ms. Arekal had filed cases at JMFCs against environmental activists, including Praveen Bhargava, Ullas Karanth and Sanjay Gubbi, for trespass.

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