TIMBER SMUGGLING CASE: Vigilance summons chief conservator

SRINAGAR: The State Vigilance Commission while taking serious note of smuggling and illicit damage caused to Forests at the hands of some notorious persons in convince with the officers/officials of Forest Department, summons the Principal Chief Conservator  Forests.

Earlier, on a specific information regarding illicit damage inflicted to Forests  in Compartment No. 18/L in South Circle Range, Bijbehara, the State Vigilance Commission had received enquiry reports earlier made by the Range Officer South Circle, Bijbehara and Technical Officer concerned into the matter, which prima-facie revealed that the officials of concerned Forest Division viz Forester, Dy. Forester, Block Officer, Forest Guard and others, who have misused their official positions by indulging in corrupt and mal-practices, by not only abetting the offence of smuggling but, have themselves sold the timber entrusted to their custody to some private Saw mills and Contractors by taking illegal gratification from them which amounts to criminal breach of trust on part of these Public servants. The Commission sought action taken report from the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests in light of the order issued by the Conservator Forests, South Circle Range, Bijbehara vide order No:58 of 2008 dated 23-07-2008, in this regard.

The Principal Chief Conservator Forests submitted the action taken report alongwith some records through his Law Officer. The perusal of report divulged half baked stories leaving many questions unanswered particularly reasons for not making recoveries, for not registering the FIR and not taking administrative action and making adverse entries in the service records of involved officials, as was recommended by the Conservator Forests, South Circle Range, Bijbehara in his order dated 23-07-2008.

The State Vigilance Commission while taking serious note of the apparent sheltering of the accused by the Higher Authorities of the Forest Department in implementing the order of the Conservator Forests South Circle, Bijbehara and not initiating departmental action and other proceedings against delinquent forest officers/officials, summons Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to explain his report and record submitted thereto on the next date of hearing.

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