The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Aamir under scanner

Ahmedabad, July 12: Forest officials in Gujarat are probing if Aamir Khan had violated the wildlife act while shooting his film Lagaan in Kutch district.

The actor’s latest film, Fanaa, faced a boycott in Gujarat because of his anti-Narmada stand.

Forest conservator R.L. Meena said an inquiry is on to find out if Aamir had violated wildlife laws while camping in the Kutch region in 1999 for the shooting of Lagaan.

The forest department has initiated the probe after a Saurashtra-based wildlife activist, Amit Jetha, filed a complaint against the actor for allegedly filming a chinkara, an endangered species, without the forest department’s permission.

The chinkara was injured during the shoot. Some people who had witnessed the filming brought the matter to the notice of Jetha, who had earlier registered a complaint against actor Salman Khan for killing a chinkara in Kutch.

Aamir and his team had stayed in Kutch for months for the shooting. After the devastating quake of 2001, he had sent money to some junior artistes of the district associated with Lagaan.

Jetha, however, clarified that his complaint had nothing to do with Aamir’s stand on the Narmada dam.

Asked why he had brought up the issue now, Jetha said it was “because my network has just developed in the region and I have got this information now”.

Sources said on behalf of Aamir’s film production company that the actor’s former wife Reena Dutta had sought permission to film a chinkara, which was denied. But the actor managed to persuade lower-rung forest officials to allow the shooting.

Meena said, according to departmental records, then chief forest conservator G.A. Patel had not granted permission to the film production company. Meena has started recording statements of witnesses who were present at the time of the shoot and that junior forest officials will be questioned soon.

Despite repeated efforts, Aamir could not be contacted for his reaction.

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