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Death of forest guard: HC orders CBI probe

| | Shimla | in Chandigarh

In another jolt to the Himachal Pradesh police, the High Court of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday ordered CBI investigation in the mysterious death of Hoshiyar Singh, a forest guard of Himachal forest department, who was found dead on June 9, in the forest area of Karsog division in Mandi district.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sandeep Sharma referred the case to CBI as the special investigation team of CID, Himachal Pradesh police could not explain a number of vital questions related to the mysterious death, even after a lapse of more than two months.

Taking a suo-motu notice of media reports in the death of Hoshiyar Singh, the High Court had converted the matter in a PIL and sought reply from State of Himachal Pradesh in the matter.

On July 22, the Amicus Curiae Prashant Sharma had demanded that the matter needs CBI investigation. He had raised apprehension over the probe conducted by the SIT of Himachal police.

The police SIT had submitted a probe report in the court on July 21 in which consuming poison was said to be the death of the deceased forest guard. In the report, it was also said that the forensic reports had confirmed that it was a case of suicide.

The reports also revealed that the handwriting in suicide note had also matched the writing of the deceased forest guard. During the investigation, two notes were recovered from the forest guard, in which he had made mentions of an ongoing nexus between forest officials and the forest mafia.

However, the Amicus Curiae had pointed out a number of shortcomings in the reports presented in court and said that the probe missed several crucial aspects in the investigation. He had told the court that the reports did not mention, whether the poison consumed by the forest guard was self-administered or he was forced to consume it.

Questions were also raised about the source of poison and its procurement by Hoshiyar Singh. He said that the report did not investigate the status of rain between June 5 and 9, the day Hoshiyar Singh disappeared and his body was found.

In his suicide notes, Hoshiyar Singh had named six persons including the Block Officer Tez Ram, for harassing him whenever he tried to raise the issue of illegal axing of trees by the mafia before the senior authorities. As per police, the guard had also mentioned about the threat to his life from the mafia.

On the basis of revelations from the notes made by the deceased forest guard, a four member team of the forest department had inspected the beat, where Hoshiyar Singh was posted.  Around 490 stumps of axed trees in only 810-hectare area were spotted by the investigating team. Over 235 of these trees were cut illegally.




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