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Gogoi moves CBI on rhinos

Feb. 7: Dispur today formally moved the CBI to conduct an inquiry into rampant poaching of rhinos in the state.

“The government has sent a file to the CBI with a plea to conduct a probe,” chief minister Tarun Gogoi told reporters on the sidelines of a National Cadet Corps (NCC) event in Guwahati.

On Sunday, Gogoi said there was a political conspiracy behind the recent spate of rhino killings and decided to go for a CBI inquiry.

The Opposition, however, ruled out such a conspiracy and alleged that forest minister Rakibul Hussain was himself involved in the killings. The AGP said the government’s move was nothing but a farce and a ridiculous proposition.

“The Opposition cannot say anything just for the sake of criticising the government. We have decided to go for a CBI inquiry to expose those behind the rhino killings. Rhinos were poached during the AGP regime too but did the AGP conduct any inquiry?” Gogoi asked.

The war of words between the Congress and the AGP on rhino poaching is even set to reach the court’s doorstep, with Hussain today saying he would soon file a criminal case against AGP chief Prafulla Kumar Mahanta for his recent comments on the issue.

Addressing reporters in Nagaon today, Hussain came down heavily on Mahanta and his party for trying to “misguide the people of the state” on the rhino issue. “Killings of rhinos also took place when the AGP was in power and Mahanta was the chief minister. It is not a new thing and should not be given a political colour,” he said.

Yesterday, Mahanta alleged a nexus between the rhino killers in Kaziranga National Park and Hussain. Some of the persons arrested in connection with rhino killings and horn trades were later found out to be pro-Congress and they are from Samaguri — the forest minister’s home constituency.

Hussain said the AGP chief was fast losing his political base among the people of the state and was making desperate attempts to keep alive his influence by making cheap comments.

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