Cassian Baliarsingh

Nearly a week after Turam Purti, the lone witness in the tusker poaching and burning incident in Similipal Wildlife Sanctuary, passed away, his wife Jhilam Purti on Thursday brought allegations of murder against three forest officials involved in the poaching.

She approached Jashipur police and lodged an FIR in this connection. In her complaint, she accused three forest officials of assaulting her husband and forcibly making him consume the poison.

Based on her complaint, police registered a case and launched a probe in this connection.

It is worth mentioning, Turam, a contractual employee at Similipal, died on December 16 while undergoing treatment at Cuttack-based SCB Medical College and Hospital.

Reports said he had consumed poison after being allegedly threatened by ranger-in-charge Siba Shankar Samal, forester Chandrabhanu Behera and forest guard Binod Das who reportedly killed the tusker for its tusks and later set the carcass on fire and threw the remnants into a river to destroy evidence.

Meanwhile, his wife’s statement that her husband was forcibly made to drink the poison as per her FIR, has further sparked outrage.

Initially, he was admitted to the local hospital and later shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. However, he passed away.

On the other hand, the three accused forest staff were arrested after Orissa High Court came down heavily on the forest department over the incident and termed 2022 as the worst year for elephants in Odisha.

Meanwhile, the next hearing on the incident is scheduled for today i.e. December 22. The forest department is expected to file an affidavit today listing out the exact measures taken for the protection of elephants.