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Nexus between forest guard, poachers unearthed at Orang

Our Bureau

Guwahati, January 3: Investigators today arrested a forest guard of Orang tiol Park on charges of killing his colleague to abet crimils to poach a rhino on December 31 last, giving a fresh dimension to the mece of poaching in the State.

The fixed–pay casual worker, Giasuddin Ahmed, was on duty with Sushil Seal who was found dead near the Belsri camp in the northeastern part of the park on the wee hours of December 31.

Park ranger Chakrapani Roy said several clues stumbled upon during investigations pointed the finger of suspicion towards Ahmed. “He was produced before the court today and taken into five day’s custody by police at Borsola police outpost,” the ranger said.

Sources in the park said during investigations by the park authorities, Ahmed was giving contradictory statements.

“Though a .303 bullet pierced through Sushil Seal, there was no corresponding hole in his jacket. His jacket was perfectly OK. This has indicated at a murder angle. Moreover, after the incident, a sniffer dog led the investigators to the house of a person who was absconding. Ahmed is known to be very close with the absconding person,” the ranger said.

Also, Ahmed reportedly misled the forest guards who were deployed nearby in a bid to allow the poachers more time to decamp.

“Our investigations revealed that after the firing, Ahmed communicated with the forest guards’ team that was deployed nearby, but gave them a wrong location. Though the other team was at a distance of about 15 minutes, they reached the place where the incident took place after 45 minutes, because they were misled by Ahmed,” the source said.

50–year–old Ahmed has been working at the park since the last twenty years and is well aware about its topography and other logistics.

Asked if there could be more insiders involved in the cases of poaching, a park official said, “We haven’t come across so far. But we are looking into it.”

Over the last one month, the park authorities had termited four casual workers for “doubtful conduct”.

Two rhinos were killed by poachers in the park last year. Two tigers were also killed on April 19 and December 7.

The two poaching incidents were reported in the month of December – one on December 10 and the other on the last day of the year.

The park has around 120 one–horned rhinos.

Our Morigaon correspondent adds:  An exchange of fire took place at Kukuri range of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Morigaon district between poachers and forest guards at around 4 am today.

Acting on a tip–off, a team of forest guards conducted a search and engaged a group of poachers in a gunbattle that lasted for nearly two hours.

No casualty was reported till the filling of this report.

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Ankur Kalita

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