Haji Nawab Ali, alias Nawab Baksh, the man alleged to be behind the poaching that eradicated the tiger population from the Panna Tiger Reserve has claimed that he was a set-up victim of real poachers. The claim comes as the long awaited investigation into him by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is expected to be announced.
Nawab named as man responsible for loss of Panna tiger population.
Nawab is thought to be named as the person effectively responsible for the poaching of the Panna tiger population. Between 2005 and 2009 he is thought to have been responsible for the killing of at least 35 tigers in the region.
On May 27th 2007 his home was raided by state forestry officials and the raid resulting in the seizure of 108 tiger bones, two kilogrammes of tiger meat and an illegal .315 rifle. He was charged, together with his wife and son, under Section 2 (16c) 39, 49 a, 50, 51 and 52 of the Wild Life Protection Act. The charges were never followed through by the Madhya Pradesh state government and no prosecutions took place.
Nawab was not at home at the time of the raids and is claiming that he was set up by the real poachers of the tigers. Local forestry officials believe that he is a major gateway to an international tiger smuggling operation.
Long campaign to have Nawab case referred to CBI.
After a long campaign by both the state forestry department and local wildlife activists it is expected that the Home Department of Madhya Pradesh will finally relent and agree to request the CBI to conduct an investigation into the activities of Haji Nawab Ali and they are expected to call for the investigation to look into the wider circumstances that led to the loss of all the tigers in Panna Tiger Reserve.
The call for the investigation will be a major change of direction for the Home Department who have repeated refused to refer the case to the national CBI and instead early this year set up a three man committee to try and placate critics.
The final hurdle to referring Nawab has just been cleared by the state prosecutor. There were claims that it would not be possible to refer Nawab to the CBI because the charges bought under the 2007 raid had not yet been dealt with by the courts. The state prosecutors has clarified that because the CBI is an independent agency it has the ability to undertake an investigation without interfering with the rights of the accused.
Current attempts to re-introduce tigers to Panna.
Following the loss of tigers at the Panna Tiger Reserve there are currently attempts to repopulate the reserve with 4 new tigers being trans-located there.
With the expected announcement of a full investigation by the CBI there may finally be action that will see those responsible for the loss of tigers at Panna being bought to justice and a line drawn under this sad state of affairs.