Nagpur: Jai, the mysteriously missing iconic tiger from Umred-Karhandla wildlife sanctuary is now suspected to have been poached, as there is still no trace of it. Many search operations yielded nothing which raised the doubt that Jai might have become the target of poachers. Strengthening the apprehension, now Member of Parliament from Bhandara and senior BJP leader Nana Patole has supported the claim. However this has led to the serious tiff between two BJP leaders as Maharashtra forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar countered his co-party leader Patole and challenged him to give proof of Jai’s poaching.
‘Jai’ tiger migrated from Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary to Umred-Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary few years back and sired more than 15 cubs by mating with three tigresses. His sheer size and power attracted wildlife buffs suddenly took Umred-Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary at international level in no time.
Now there are chances of beginning of political war over issue of poaching of ‘Jai’. On other hand, forest department has landed in trouble due to stand taken by Member of Parliament Patole. He has held responsible some officials of forest department and one senior officer of secretary level in Mantralaya in Mumbai for poaching case of ‘Jai’. He told that complaint of this entire case will be made directly to prime minister Narendra Modi.
Jai is missing from last four months. The seriousness of case has increased as allegations are being made directly on forest officials. Forest officials had searched for Jai day and night throughout last month but no trace was found. In the meaning, Member of Parliament Patole has claimed that Jai has been poached and created sensation.
In Global Tiger Day programme held in Nagpur on July 29 last, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had expressed hope that ‘Jai’ is safe and will return back. But within twenty days of this statement, MP Patole made claim of Jai’s poaching. According to sources, some wildlife organisations are searching for Jai along with forest department. It is being said that these organisations have knowledge of possible poaching of Jai.
Mungantiwar takes matter to PM
Maharashtra forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said, “Taking cognizance of claims made by Member of Parliament Nana Patole, I have sent letter to prime minister Narendra Modi. I even met Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday and demanded investigation of Jai’s case through special wing of CBI. Similarly, demand of CID probe has also been made to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. MP Nana Patole should make available evidence of this case with him to concerned investigation agencies so that entire case can be probed.” Caught amidst reports about the death of majestic tiger “Jai” which has disappeared from Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary since April last, Maharashtra forest department has come forward to counter such claims.
Maharashtra forest department needs to learn a lot from Madhya Pradesh forest department which comes out clean on any development – good or bad. Whenever there is any tiger death, a statement along with photographs is immediately issued to the media. In case of Maharashtra forest department, its for the first time that it has issued a statement on any important issue.