Crime Branch begins probe into Dhenkanal elephant deaths

Bhubaneswar: A day after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a Crime Branch probe into death of seven elephants on Friday night, a four-member team of the State investigating agency today visited Dhenkanal and began a probe.

As per reports, the team led by a DSP visited the office of the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) and Superintending Engineer of Electricity department and enquired about the matter.

Yesterday Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a Crime Branch probe into the death of seven elephants due to electrocution near Kamalanga village under Sadar range in Dhenkanal district late on Friday night.

Expressing deep concern over the incident, the CM further ordered the concerned authorities to take appropriate action against the officials responsible for any negligence.

Three officials of the Forest & Environment Department including Dhenkanal Range officer Prasanna Kumar Biswal, Forester of Meramundali section Prabhakar Rana and forest guard of Meramundali section Girish Chandra Dehury have been suspended.

Similarly, the electricity department sacked one officer and suspended three others in connection with the incident.

Sanjay Kumar Mohanty, DEE (Contract)/JM (Ele), Electrical Section, Meramundali has been terminated from his post and replaced by Pradeep Kumar Pradhan, JM (Ele), Electrical section, Talcher.

Besides, Naresh Chandra Pattnaik, GM/(Ele)/Circle Manager, EC, Dhenkanal, Artatrana Nayak, SDO of Chainpal and Phiroj Panda, Lineman-B of Electrical Section, Meramundali have been suspended by the electricity department.

On the other hand, members of the Dhenkanal Milita Bazaar Committee today gheraoed the DFO office demanding action against those responsible for the elephant deaths.