Pradeep Pattanayak

Jashipur police on Thursday arrested three forest staff for their alleged involvement in the death of Turam Purty, the lone eyewitness in the poaching and burning of an elephant in Similipal Tiger Reserve of Mayurbhanj district. 

The arrested forest department employees have been identified as Jenabil’s former ranger Sibashankar Samal, forester Chandrabhanu Behera and forest guard Binod Kumar Das. 

The arrests were made after the Orissa High Court rejected their bail applications yesterday. 

Notably, Turam Purty, a contractual employee at Similipal, was a witness to the crime of poaching and burning a tusker. Fearing action, the trio-Sibashankar Samal, Chandrabhanu Behera and Binod Kumar Das-allegedly thrashed Purty black and blue and forced him to drink poison. 

He became critical on December 11. He was rushed to Karanjia government hospital and later shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. He breathed his last while undergoing treatment on December 16 last year. 

Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Manoj V Nair had then admitted that the poaching indeed happened and the three forest officials had killed the tusker for its tusks. 

After setting the carcass on fire, the three forest employees had thrown the ash and remnants of the jumbo into a river to do away with proof. 

“On the basis of the complaint of the deceased’s wife, a case was registered. We had raided several places but failed in our attempts. Acting on a tip-off, we conducted raids in some areas in Bhubaneswar and apprehended them. They were forwarded to court today,” informed SDPO, Karanjia, Sudarshan Gangoi.