Kozhikode: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has asked the Ministry officials to submit a report on the mass felling of trees at Muttil in Wayanad district, according to Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan.
BJP state chief K Surendran and Muraleedharan held talks with Javadekar over this. Muraleedharan alleged that a political-bureaucratic conspiracy was behind the order.
ED to look into tree felling
In addition to the investigations into tree felling by Vigilance, police, and the forest department, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) also has come into the picture.
The Kozhikode sub-zonal officials are collecting details about the tree felling. This follows after suspicions that large-scale black money transactions had taken place between timber smuggling gang and the officials. The past financial transactions of the forest and revenue officials, against whom allegations have been raised, would also be examined.
More officials are suspected to have connived with the culprits.
The ED suspects that four officials, who are under the scanner of the forest department (Vigilance), knew everything about the looting and the over-enthusiasm shown by some revenue officials was due to their intervention. The background of these officials will be checked in detail.
Bank transactions and the recent land registrations will come under the purview of investigation. The ED will also check the audit details of the controversial timber agency in Wayanad.
Meanwhile, the forest department (Vigilance) has begun the probe into the tree felling at Muttil.
Forest Vigilance chief forest conservator Ganga Singh has directed the probe report to be submitted in 10 days. Five DFOs are in charge of the probe. Range officers of Wayanad, Palakkad, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Idukki districts have been included in the probe team. The probe will be extended to other districts, if needed.