In a major crack down on officials suspecting to be hand in glove with the timber smugglers, Forest Department suspended at least 12 of its employees including a deputy Director Forest Protection Force in Rajwar Division after Police seized illicit timber worth crores of rupees in various raids in the area, which they (Police) believe was smuggled in nexus with the suspended forest officials.
Police Sources told KNS, they had information that jungle smugglers were extracting huge quantity of timber illegally in collaboration with the officials of the department from various compartments of the Rajwar area.
“At least 600 feet of smuggled Timber has been seized during various raids.” SDPO Handwara Mir Ifroz told KNS. He added that on the directions of SP Handwara, Police teams swung into action during which police found 56 green deodars lying on the ground which were axed by these smugglers.
“Nearly 450 feet timber has been recovered from compartment no. 18 in Rajpora, whereas some timber was seized from compartment no. 50.” Mir added.
The Police also said that they were expecting further recovery of smuggled timber in the coming days. Two FIRs, vide no. 57 and 58 under sections 379 and 106 have been lodged in this regard.
Meanwhile Forest department has taken the developments seriously and suspended at least 12 of its employees including Dy. Director Forest Protection Force,2 range officers and one forester with immediate effect and said that the amount they (employees) allegedly raised by virtue of smuggling thus incurring huge loss to state exchequer would be recovered from their salaries.
“ we can’t tolerate such kind of malpractice in our department. I have directed to hold an enquiry into the matter.” Minster For Forests Mian Altaf told KNS.
Meanwhile Conservator J&K Circle Manzoor Piswal confirmed to KNS that an enquiry committee has been set up to probe the allegations.