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Odisha Elephant Electrocution Tragedy: Crime Branch Arrests 2 Forest Officials, 1 CESU Jr Engineer


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03 November 2018

Himansu Mohapatra


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Dhenkanal: The Crime Branch, investigating into the death of seven elephants in Dhenkanal due to electrocution from a low-hanging 11 KV wire, has arrested two forest officials and one junior engineer of Central Electrical Supply Unit.

As per reports, CESU’s Junior Manager (Electrical) of Meramundali Electrical Section of Sanjay Kumar Mohanty has been arrested. Earlier on October 27, he had been dismissed from his duties.

Meanwhile, Forester of Meramundali Section, Pravakar Rana and Forest Guard of Meramundali Beat Girish Chandra Dehury have also been arrested by the Crime Branch. Earlier, they had been suspended for negligence in duties.

The arrested persons were forwarded to the court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate today.

The Crime Branch found the three persons guilty under section 146 of Electricity Act and section 51 of the Wild Life (Protection Act).

"Initially an O.R. case was registered in Dhenkanal Forest Range by the Range Officer after recovery of carcasses of those seven wild elephants on October 27. Thereafter, on the same incident a case was registered in Kantabania Police Station on the report of Dhenkanal's Assistant Conservator of Forests," the Crime Branch press release stated.

"Subsequently, the Crime Branch took up investigation of the case and a scientific team of State Foresnic Science Laboratory visited the spot to collect physical evidences," added the release.

Inspector General of Crime Branch Arun Bothra too visited the area and imparted valubale instruction to Crime Branch SP Sandeep Madkar, who had camped in the area.

"The investigation revealed that one span of conductor of 11 KV high tensions electric line was sagged near Kamalanga village under Meramundali Forest since several months. A pole on one side was also tilted and the ground clearance was low," stated Crime Branch.

"The accused persons did not obey the departmental guidelines and instructions of superior officers and failed to act promptly to rectify the sagging of the electric wire which ultimately resulted in electrocution of seven elephants," concluded the release.

Reportedly on October 28, carcasses of at least seven elephants were found lying near Kamalanga village in Sadar forest range today morning. The pachyderms came in contact with low-hanging live 11KV wires that were laid by the railway department for track construction work. Though the height of the wire should be at 17-feet, it was laid at a height of only 6-feet, stated sources.

The locals had alleged that they had spotted some jumbos in the outskirts of the village a few days back and had informed the forest officials about it. But, the administration had taken no step to address the situation.

Expressing deep concern over the tragedy, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had ordered a Crime Branch inquiry into the matter following which a four-member team had visited Dhenkanal to conduct investigation into the matter.

Also Read: Elephant Electrocution Tragedy: Six Officials Suspended, One Dismissed

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Nikhil Pawan Kalyan, Collector, Dhenkanal