Government vet lists all that went wrong in tigress Avni (T1) operation
Government vet submits a two-page written statement to Maharashtra state-appointed committee investigating the killing of the tigress T1
Expert government veterinarian Dr Sunil Bawaskar was summoned before the state-appointed committee, investigating the killing of tigress T1 (Avni), on Thursday in Nagpur.
Forest department sources told mid-day that Dr Bawaskar gave a two-page written statement to the committee, highlighting several critical things that messed up the operation. Committee members present included tiger expert Dr Ullhas Karanth, S H Patil and Nitin Kakodkar.
A forest department source said, "In Dr Bawaskar's field diary, which he had submitted to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), he'd made many serious allegations regarding the big cat's shooting by Asghar, son of controversial shooter Nawab Shafat Ali Khan. Hence, the state-appointed committee asked him questions related to it, replies to which he has put in the written statement."
It is said Dr Bawaskar also pointed out to the committee how Asghar wasted the efforts of veterinarians, who wanted to capture the tigress alive by tranquillising her - he went ahead to the spot in the evening along with the team without Shafat Ali Khan and shot the tigress, claiming he had to take the drastic step in self-defence.
mid-day's November 14 story (She was going to be captured alive) reported about a confidential report (of which this newspaper has a copy) submitted to the NTCA by Dr Bawaskar, who was part of the operation. It stated that the tigress had come to the spot where it was killed only because vets had lured her there with the intention of capturing her alive, but the shooter allegedly used the opportunity to kill her instead.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the NTCA committee instituted to inquire into the killing visited Pandharkawda division and recorded the statements of those involved in the operation, including Mukbir Shaikh, a forest department employee who allegedly fired the dart at the tigress before she was supposedly shot.
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