SDO DC Ghormare and rangers Rajesh Tripathi and Regi Rao have also been sentenced to six months in prison. The officers they tried to implicate are Akshay Kumar Singh, then CEO of Umaria zilla panchayat, and Dr KK Pandey, CEO of Manpur district. Akshay has since been promoted to IAS cadre.
The young tigress, mother of three cubs, was found dead in a waterhole in Bandhavgarh’s Jhurjhurra area on May 19, 2010. An autopsy revealed massive internal haemorrhageindicating it was hit by a vehicle. Initial attempts by the forest department to brush the death under the carpet proved futile as it was taken up on an international platform by RTI activist Shehla Masood (who was murdered in 2011).
The state government handed over the case to CID and then to STF. After a month-long probe, STF narrowed down the list for the narco test to four people – Man Singh and Shrilal Yadav (drivers for two range officers), Pankaj Vishvakarma (driver for Akshay Singh) and Dhirendra Chaturvedi, a guard. Only Yadav refused on grounds of post-test hazards.
According to the prosecution, in 2011-12, Patil, who was then the Bandhavgarh director, and his team implicated Akshay and Pandey through Man Singh. It was alleged that the Bandhavgarh management put pressure on Singh and kept him captive for several days. Worried, his wife went to the collector to help find him. When the collector had it investigated, he found that some Bandhavgarh officials were indeed keeping him hidden somewhere. The wife filed a petition in Jabalpur high court, which gave a decision in her favour.
Singh and the two CEOs were put through a narco test but nothing came of it. Singh filed a complaint in a civil court, alleging harassment. On Friday CK Patil was sentenced to three years of imprisonment and fined Rs 5,000.