Mysore: The case of alleged shootout between three suspected poachers from Tamil Nadu and the Karnataka forest personnel at the border near Palar recently, which resulted in the death of one of the poachers, has taken a curious turn.
According to sources, during an MRI scan and other tests conducted before the autopsy at KR Hospital attached to the Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC and RI) on Saturday, it has emerged that “poacher” Palani was shot in the left side of the head with the bullet piercing through the other part, causing the skull to open. However, the reports are yet to be released.
As the body was found in a disrobed and highly decomposed state, with the rear part of the skull ripped apart, it was subjected to MRI scanning and X-ray tests at the hospital.This follows a complaint by Shantha, wife of Palani (45), a fisherman, to the MM Hills police on Friday that her husband had been shot dead by 10 personnel belonging to the Karnataka Forest department. She has not named the personnel. Acting on the complaint, the police have booked a case under IPC Sections 302 (murder) and 149 (rioting) for the alleged involvement of more than five persons.
The MM Hills police have booked a case under IPC Section 307 (for attempt to murder) and under the Arms Act against the mob for ransacking the Palar checkpost and the range forest office.
They had torched a two-wheeler and had taken away five guns and a seized tusk. A separate case has been booked by the Forest department under the Forest Act.The deceased Palani’s name is among the list of 80 poachers compiled by the Karnataka Forest department.
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Ajai Misra, said Palani might have been killed in the exchange of fire between the Forest department personnel and the poachers on October 21.
“The department was tipped off by sources that some people would cross into Karnataka from Tamil Nadu for poaching. The department personnel patrolling the region during the night noticed the gang of poachers. The poachers opened fire and the department staff returned fire in self-defence,” he said.
The department, apart from the police, will also look into the issue, he said.
Following the shootout, he said the department had lodged a complaint at the MM Hills police station regarding the incident two days before the body of Palani was found. He said Govindapadi and surrounding villages, where there were a large number of smugglers and poachers armed with country-made guns, were posing a serious poaching problem. “That is why they took away the guns while ransacking the checkpost at Palar,” he said.
Palani and two others had allegedly gone to the forest on October 21, when the alleged firing took place with both the poachers and Forest personnel exchanging fire. The body of Palani, who was initially suspected to be missing, was found after three days on October 24. The MM Hills police, who are investigating the case, have listed Muthuswamy and Raja as absconders.