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Forest dept to take action against Ganesh Kumar

Forest dept to take action against Ganesh Kumar

Thiruvananthapuram: In fresh trouble brewing for former minister K B Ganesh Kumar, state Forest Department is mulling taking up a complaint against him for alleged illegal possession of a captive elephant, which he had 20 years ago for offering in a temple.

Animal right campaigners have alleged that Kumar is still keeping the jumbo named 'Viswanathan', which he had bought from the department in 1994 on the pretext of donating to a shrine.

Thrissur-based animal rights group Heritage Animal Task Force, which lodged a complaint in this regard with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, said that buying a jumbo owned by the department by raising false claims was a case amounting to cheating the government.

A top wildlife official said prima facia it was violation of January 1994 Government Order and the department would look into the matter.

"The order issued by the then Commissioner and Secretary to the state government, states that the elephant was sold to Kumar for the purpose of donating to the temple," the official told PTI.

"If he has not donated the elephant so far and is still keeping the animal with him, it is a clear case of violation of that order," he said.

The official, however, said they can arrive at a conclusion only after conducting a detailed inquiry on the matter.

As per the January 27, 1994 order, the male elephant calf aged seven years was sold to Ganesh Kumar for Rs 2 lakh plus tax for donation to Kavilamma Bhagavathy Temple.

V K Venkitachalam, the Task Force secretary alleged that various records relating to the elephant, including insurance documents and data book show Kumar is still the owner.

"If he has donated the elephant to the temple, how does he still figure as Viswanathan's owner in all these documents? As per our knowledge, he rents out the animal for temple festivals and parades for monetary benefit," he told PTI.

In his recent complaint to the CM, who is also chairman of the state Wildlife Board, Venkitachalam urged the government to confiscate the jumbo and initiate punishment against MLA Kumar, who represents Pathanapuram constituency in the Assembly.

Ganesh Kumar, a former minister in the Oommen Chandy government had resigned following a complaint of domestic violence filed by his estranged wife.

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