Guwahati, Oct. 18: The Kaziranga National Park authorities have registered a case against Diffloo tea estate in connection with the recovery of two elephant carcasses from the garden recently even as a one-man committee began its probe into the incident.
The two elephant calves died because of suspected poisoning. The viscera have been sent to the forensic laboratory.
The development comes in the wake of New Delhi’s strong reaction to the deaths of the elephant because of suspected poisoning with environment minister Jairam Ramesh directing Dispur to take stringent action against the guilty.
Ramesh had asked chief minister Tarun Gogoi to conduct an inquiry into the deaths and take strong action against the guilty. He had also offered help if required.
The chief conservator of forest (wildlife), D.M. Singh, arrived at Kaziranga yesterday and began investigation into the death of the two calves.
Singh will also probe the death of two more elephants, which were recovered from Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong elephant reserve, which is close to the tea estate.
The carcasses of the two female elephants were recovered barely a week after the carcasses of the two calves were found inside two drains inside Diffloo tea estate, near the national park, on October 6.
The one-man committee, led by Singh, was formed by forest minister Rockybul Hussain who visited Kaziranga on Saturday. The minister also visited the tea estate from where two carcasses of the calves were recovered.
Kaziranga divisional forest officer D.D. Gogoi said a few employees of the tea estate have been questioned in connection with the incident.
“No arrests have been made till now but investigations are on. We have already registered a case against the tea estate,” Gogoi said.
A veterinarian, who conducted the post-mortem on the carcasses of the four elephants, said there were clear indications of poisoning.
“There were similar symptoms on all the four carcasses,” he said.
Gogoi said the exact cause of deaths of the four elephants could be known only after the forensic report. “We are expecting the report within the next few days. The law would take its own course,” he said.
The forest department suspects that it was probably some toxic chemicals used in the tea estate that caused the deaths of the elephants.
“While the two calves died immediately after coming into contact with these chemicals, the grown-up elephants survived for a few days,” a forest official said.
The Diffloo tea estate authorities, however, denied any role in the deaths of the elephants. “We use the same chemicals, which are being used by other tea estates in Assam. Elephants visit our garden regularly. Had we used some toxic chemicals, they would have died long back,” a tea garden official said.