Ranger caught on tape asking for bribe

Boudh: A forest ranger was allegedly caught on tape while settling for an illegal deal with some ganja cultivators in Boudh district. The video of the whole incident has reportedly gone viral.

As per sources, the official has been identified as Rabi Narayan Sahu, Forest Range Officer of Kantamal Range under Boudh Forest Division.

Sahu was caught red-handed while asking a bribe of Rs 35,000 from a few locals atop Matakrupa Reserve forest who were packing processed ganja for smuggling.

The video which captured the entire ordeal showed the forest official threatening the peddlers of dire consequences if they do not pay the bribe.

In the video, the official was seen questioning the people, “If I only take Rs 20,000 then what would I give to my foresters and other rangers. If someone earns Rs 1,000 by selling a bicycle-load fire wood, then ganja traders should consider themselves rich.”

“We came to the spot to maintain the fireline and generally we would not come here again after February, so you should pay me the money,” the official was heard saying.

Later when the ganja cultivators hesitated to pay the sum, the official threatened to put them behind the bars.

However, when asked about the incident, the Ranger blatantly refuted about asking for money from the ganja cultivators and said “I only saw some people packing something under a tree in the forest but did not know what it was.”

The incident has sparked sharp reactions from locals who allege that rampant ganja smuggling business have been going on in the district for quite some time in spite of the knowledge of the forest department, excise officials and the police.

Meanwhile, Boudh DFO has urged media persons to provide necessary evidence so that action can be taken against the accused official.

Similarly, Boudh SP Sudhansu Sekhar Mishra said “We had not received any information regarding the incident but as far as assessment, if this needs to be referred to the Vigilance then we will do it.”