Plea seeks SC-monitored CBI or SIT probe into elephant killings

A petition seeking a CBI or SIT probe into the cases of elephant killings in Kerala and elsewhere has been filed in the Supreme Court. Petitioner Avadh Bihari Kaushik has alleged a deeprooted menace of killing elephants, especially in Kerala, citing the tragic killing of a pregnant elephant by feeding her explosive-filled pineapple in Palakkad district.

The 15-year-old elephant died in Kerala’s Velliyar river on 27 May after the fruit filled with powerful crackers, allegedly offered by locals, exploded in her mouth when she chomped it.

The petition reads: “Postmortem carried out on the pregnant elephant’s body shows that the elephant could not eat or drink anything for nearly two weeks before her death. The postmortem report confirms that major wounds and injuries were caused in the oral cavity (mouth) of the pregnant elephant as a result of the explosive blast of the firecrackers.”

Highlighting another incident from April where an elephant was similarly killed in Pathanapuram forest range of Kollam district, the petition claims that not only has the state failed to prevent such deaths, but there also seems to be an organised racket of killing the pachyderm.

The plea has sought a direction for transferring the case of killing of the pregnant elephant and similar incidents to the CBI “under the constant monitoring” of the apex court. It has said that alternatively, the court should direct setting up of an SIT, headed by a former SC judge, to probe into the cases of repeated killings of elephants across the country, especially in Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam.

“No fair, impartial and uninfluenced investigation and prosecution at the hands of the local state police is possible inasmuch as the matter involves political and money powers and therefore, the investigation is required to be conducted from an impartial, independent central agency in a fair and transparent manner under the monitoring of this court or by an SIT,” the plea adds.

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