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VTR, SSB in war over recovered tiger parts

Hindustan Times, Patna, 5th December, 2013

Bagaha:  Forest officials and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) are at loggerheads of a spate of recoveries of animal body parts from Valmiknagar tiger range (VTR) on Wednesday.

While VTR officials allege foul play in these recoveries, SSB officials are accusing forest officials to be hand in glove with poachers and international smugglers of animal body parts.

The SSB believes, that officlas of VTR, instead of investigating the reason and source of bones of tigers and horns of deer recovered on Tuesday from Gobardana forest, are engaged in blaming the 21st battalion of SSB, which actually recovered them. Paramilitary officials claimed, poachers are in active play in the forest ranges, which have gone  unchecked by the forest staff.

Meanwhile, VTR officials claimed, the body parts could have been brought from other places and planted in its jurisdiction  by the SSB personnel to defame the VTR.

"They are defaming us and  trying to detract from the fact by putting the onus on us. The body parts recovered appear to be over a decade old," a VTR official told HT.

Santosh Tiwari, conservator cum director of VTR, said  the recoveries are suspect, as the SSB have never intimated any forest official before showing them as recoveries. "We have instructed our officials to think twice before accepting such recoveries by the SSSB," he said.  Meanwhile, Jiten Singh, Second in command of the 21st battalion, deputed in West Champaran, said:" We recovered them, following a tip off from our intelligence sources and handed them over to the forest officials. it only indicates that poaching is rampant in this forest range," he said.

SSB officials claim, they have reason to suspect, that poachers are hand in glove with forest officials, and should they share information, the poachers would be alerted.

The paramilitary beileves, poachers have been hunting the animals freely and smuggling the body parts to China, where they are using  tigers bones to make drugs. Such parts fetch a huge price.

A few days ago, several body parts of tigers and deer were recoverd by the SSB in the VTR area.