Forest official arrested on charge of possessing tiger claw, suspended

Karnataka Forest Department officials have arrested Darshan Kumar, a Deputy Range Forest Officer in Chikkamagaluru district, on charges of possessing tiger claws. The Koppa Division of Forest Department had received complaints that Mr. Kumar, attached to the Kalasa Range of Forest, possessed a tiger claw.

The senior officers of the department summoned him. Initially, he did not respond to the summons, but was later arrested. Nandish L., DCF, has suspended Darshan Kumar, following charges against him.

Based on a complaint filed by Supreeth and Abdul Khader of Arenur, Forest Department officials had registered a case against him. The complainants alleged that Darshan Kumar had posted a photo, showing him wearing a tiger claw pendant, on social media platforms. He had removed the photos recently. 

Shakhadri’s house

Meanwhile, forest officials searched the house of Ghouse Mohiddin Shakhadri, hereditary administrator of Sri Guru Dattatreya Bababudan Swami Dargah in Chikkamagaluru district, and seized the skins of wild animals, on Friday in his house in Chikkamagaluru city.

When The Hindu contacted Shakhadri, he said the skins seized by the officials had been with his family for more than a century. “I got them from my ancestors. I have conveyed the same to the officials,” he said.

Minister’s house

In Belagavi, a team of forest officials visited the home of Minister for Women and Child Development Lakshmi Hebbalkar to check if Mrinal Hebbalkar, her son, has been wearing tiger claw pendants. Mrinal Hebbalkar handed over the pendant to the officers, who have sent it to the forensic science laboratory to confirm if it came from a real tiger. Meanwhile, Ms. Hebbalkar has claimed it was a plastic one.

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