Chinkara case: Army men fail to appear for questioning

"We had summoned the five accused armymen for formal questioning today at 9 AM at forest office but none of them came...," Deputy Conservator of Forest BR Bhadu told PTI.

"It is non-cooperation so we are again issuing a second summon to call them tomorrow," he said.

Rejecting the charge, defence spokesperson Colonel S D Goswami said the army has taken up the issue very seriously.

"The CoI is progressing in fast track. The alleged army witnesses are being examined," he said.

Five personnel of a tank repair unit were booked after heads of three Chinkaras and uncooked meat was recovered from a military camp in Neembla village in Barmer, 220 kms from here, on Friday.

Chinkaras are listed in Schedule-I of Indian Wildlife Protection Act.

"During preliminary investigation on Friday, the accused said that they had bought the meat from some villagers but apparently, it was not the case," a forest department source said.

Goswami said the Army has also requested the state forest officials, who recovered the heads of three chinkaras and their uncooked meat from 88 Armoured Workshop camp, to depose before the CoI.

The 88 Armoured Workshop is to take part in the Operation Sudershan Shakti being conducted by the Bhopal-based 21 Strike Corps.

A case was registered under sections 9 to 51 of Wildlife Protection Act-1972. Punishment for offences under these sections carry a maximum punishment of seven year jail term.

Goswami said the army has extended full cooperation to the forest officials and will continue doing so to come to a logical conclusion of the case.

"The army being fully equipped to deal with the allegations against its persons and to take punitive measure in case allegations are found to be proved, the forest officials need to merely extend their fullest cooperation by way of furnishing evidence with them," he said.

Goswami said the Army is known for speedy justice and if any army personnel is found guilty in CoI, disciplinary action will be taken as per the law of the land.

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