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Mumbai Congress says minister linked to 'global poaching mafia'

IANS  |  Mumbai 

Upping its aggressive stance, on Saturday accused Forest Mungantiwar of links with the international mafia and sought his arrest and dismissal from the cabinet.

The has strongly refuted the charge, saying he would file a defamation suit against city

Nirupam claimed that in 2014, 14 tigers died, 16 in 2016 and 21 in 2017, proving that the national animal is "unsafe" with Mungantiwar heading the ministry in the state.

"The number of tiger deaths in 2017 was the second highest in the state after It is highly possible that Mungantiwar could be in nexus with the international mafia," alleged Nirupam.

Immediately hitting back, Mungantiwar said that by linking his name with global poachers, the was intentionally "ruining" the country's image before the world community.

"In my tenure, only one tigress (Avni) has been killed, that too, as per the orders. Nirupam is wrongly dragging all other natural deaths of tigers as if the creature is immortal. I shall file a defamation case against him in the Chandrapur court," the warned.

Addressing mediapersons on Saturday, Nirupam said that despite the (NTCA)'s directives to intall an system in every tiger reserve in the country, Mungantiwar has conveniently refrained from doing so repeatedly in

"The state floated its tender in August 2016 and even after bids were received, the tender was scrapped," Nirupam said, producing the tender invitation documents.

"In March 2017, another tender was issued and it met the same fate after two months. However, all other states where tiger reserves are located have installed e-surveillance, barring Maharashtra," Nirupam said.

The Congress pointed out that when the system was installed as a pilot in Chandrapur's Chanda Tiger Reserve, Mungantiwar himself praised it saying it could easily track a tiger's movement as well as activities.

Speaking about the two probe panels which have kicked up a fresh controversy, animal said they comprise people from the government who could be "biased".

"We demand a committee comprising forest officers, forensic and cyber experts, veterinarians and shooters to be part of the committee to ensure a fair probe and check the inconsistencies in the information provided so far," Ganguly said.

Animal activists Priyanka Timmins, and announced that a 'Global March' will be held in on Sunday afternoon from Worli to Shivaji Park for highlighting Avni's killing.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, November 10 2018. 19:14 IST