The Madras High Court has directed Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Central government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) with officers drawn from the two states and CBI, to probe wildlife offences.
A division bench comprising Justices V. Bharathidasan and N. Satish Kumar, on Friday, directed the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to provide a list of officers to be included in the SIT by February 14 which must include serving police and forest officers of the respective states in the rank of Superintendents of Police and DFO.
The offences include poaching of animals, death of animals by electrocution, and other accidental deaths of elephants and other wild animals.
It also directed to include CBI Superintendent of Police N. Nirmala Devi who has been investigating several cases related to wildlife offences also be included in the team.
The Court issued the interim directive following a batch of public interest litigations on poaching of animals as also electrocution of elephants and other wild animals and road and rail accidents. It also directed the Railways to make sure that elephants are not getting killed by speeding trains.
Three elephants, including a calf, had got killed after being hit by a speeding Mangalore- Chennai Express train in the stretch between Palakkad and Madukkarai. The court had then directed the Southern Railway and the Forest Department of Tamil Nadu to take measures including reducing speed of trains in the sector as well as employing more wildlife watchers during the night to prevent elephants to reach the tracks.
The court also directed the Southern Railway not to erect Solar fences till February 25 and to conduct discussions with the Chief Wild Life warden regarding the same and to take a decision on the basis of inputs received from him.