CBI has many better things to do than probe tiger deaths: MP HC

The court was hearing the plea by Bhopal-based NGO Prayatna requesting CBI inquiry into the alleged disappearance of tigers between 2007 and 2009 from the reserve, about 250 km from here.

The application cited recommendations made by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to the Madhya Pradesh government for handing over cases related to alleged disappearance of the big cats to the probe agency.

"This PIL seeks CBI investigation in this case into the alleged disappearance of some tigers from a forest sanctuary. The CBI has many better things to do. The petition is dismissed," a bench of acting Chief Justice Sushil Harkauli and judge K K Trivedi wrote in their order on September 30.

The Panna Reserve, spread in about 542.67 sq km area, is the 22nd tiger reserve of the country and spreads over Panna and Chattarpur districts of the state.

According to an internal report by the Madhya Pradesh government, there was no tiger in the Panna Reserve in 2009 census carried out by the authorities there. The report says that there were about 20 tigers in 2006.

It cited an example of "fence eating the crop" and strongly recommended a CBI probe in the alleged disappearance of the striped cats.

About 19 cases of tigers poaching were noticed by the authorities in the Panna Reserve.

Currently, there are four tigers in the Panna Reserve which have been brought from other reserves.
"We want CBI probe in the matter. It is a very serious issue. We will move the Supreme Court," petitioner Ajay Dubey said.

According to an RTI reply from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, 447 wild cats were found dead between 1999 and March 2011 across the country, of which 197 were poached.

Besides, 250 wild cats died of natural causes including old age, infighting, starvation, road and rail accidents, electrocution and weakness.

"The cases of local extinction of tigers were reported in Sariska, Rajasthan (2005) and Panna, Madhya Pradesh (2008). As reported, poachings of tigers was the major cause of their extinction," it said in reply to the RTI filed by PTI.

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