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Maharashtra forest minister linked to global poaching mafia: Mumbai Cong chief

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Hitting out at the government over the killing of tigress Avni, Mumbai Saturday accused Forest of having links with the international poaching mafia, following which the BJP said he would file a defamation case.

Mungantiwar has been facing flak from opposition parties in the state over the killing of the tigress in Yavatmal district on November 2.

Officially called T1, the big cat had allegedly killed 13 people in the district's Pandharkawda area in the last two years. It was shot dead by a marksman hired by the

Demanding the be sacked from the Cabinet immediately, Nirupam said tigers are "unsafe" in as long as Mungantiwar is in-charge of the forest department.

The said a CBI probe should be instituted against the forest over the death of tigers in the state in the last four years.

"resumed office as the in the year 2014. Since then, 14, 16 and 21 tigers have died in the years 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively, in

"The number of tiger deaths (in Maharashtra) in the year 2017 was second highest in the country after India's biggest tiger Jay has been missing too," Nirupam said at a press conference here.

"Does this bitter reality sound normal to It is highly possible that Mungantiwar could be in nexus with international poaching mafias. It is clear that our national animal isn't safe under Mungantiwar's rule," the said.

Nirupam alleged that despite the National Tiger Conservation Authority's rule of having a surveillance system in every tiger reserve in the country, Mungantiwar has conveniently refrained from doing so in Maharashtra.

"States with tiger reserves have installed surveillance systems, except Maharashtra. When a surveillance system was installed on a pilot basis in a tiger reserve in district, Mungantiwar admitted it helped in tracking the location of tigers and poaching activities.

"Is this why he hasn't installed it (such a system) in Maharashtra so that the poaching mafia could continue to kill tigers for huge monetary benefits?" he asked.

Mungantiwar said he would file a defamation case against Nirupam for making wild allegations.

"This is nothing but low-level politics. He has lowered the standards of politics by making baseless allegations. I will file a defamation case against him in district," the said.

The BJP-led government in the state has come under fire over the killing of the tigress. She left behind two 10-month-old cubs.

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

First Published: Sat, November 10 2018. 21:15 IST