Sleuths of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) registered a case against a forest ranger, a retired guard and a watcher on charges of threatening a school teacher and demanding graft for not registering a case against him in 2019.
C. Devendran, a graduate teacher, petitioned the DVAC, Chennai, demanding action against J.P. Ashok Kumar, Forest Ranger, Thammampatti Forest Range, C. Krishnaraj, Forest Guard, Belur South Beat, Thammampatti, and S. Manivel, Forest Watcher, Belur South Beat.
Following inquiry, it was found that Devendran owned an agricultural land at Nanangarai village in Gangavalli that was located along the reserve forest.
In August 2018, the wheels of a tractor unloading the manure in his field got stuck in the mud and an earthmover was pressed into service to drag the tractor. While doing so, the earthmover and the tractor used the reserve forest.
In February 2019, Krishnaraj and Manivel came to know of the incident and demanded ₹30,000 from Devendran for not registering a case of trespassing against him. But, Devendran said he could pay only ₹3,000. Both the forest staff informed their superior Ashok Kumar.
On March 4, 2019, Ashok Kumar demanded ₹50,000 from Devendran and he paid ₹10,000. But Devendran was wrongfully confined in the office and later he escaped and got admitted to the Government Hospital in Attur.
As the news spread, the Forest Department registered a case against Devendran and levied a fine of ₹50,000.
The inquiry revealed that the three committed offences of criminal conspiracy and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Chennai, gave permission to register a case.
On Monday, DVAC, Salem, registered a case against the three. While Ashok Kumar continues to serve in Thammampatti, Krishnaraj has retired from service in 2019 and Manivel is no more.
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