Kerala government tells High Court that custodial interrogation of accused is necessary in rosewood-felling case

Kerala government opposes bail petition filed by the accused in the case relating to cutting and removal of rosewood trees in Wayanad

Opposing the bail petition filed by the accused in the case relating to cutting and removal of rosewood trees in Wayanad, the State government on Tuesday informed the High Court that the custodial interrogation of the accused was necessary for further investigation and to identify the forest from where the timbers were collected.

In an affidavit, the State government submitted that the vehicle in which the members were transported had to be seized. The Forest and Revenue Departments were taking legal action against the petitioner for cutting many rosewood trees from the government land.

It added that the petitioner had misused the permit issued by the divisional forest officer for illegal transport of rosewood timber suspected to be collected from forest land in Wayanad.

The affidavit was filed in response to an anticipatory bail petition filed by Roji Augustine and two other accused in the case relating to cutting and illegally transporting 54 timber logs by using fake documents.

Invoice fabricated

The investigation revealed that the quantity and size of the 54 rosewood timber logs seized from Karimugal, Ernakulam, did not correspond to or match with the timber cut and removed from the lands in Muttil, Wayanad. Besides, it was evident that the purchase invoice produced by the petitioner was fabricated and timber seized was suspected to be illegally collected from forests of Wayanad, and a special investigation team was formed to find out the forest area from which valuable timber was lost.

The court posted the bail petition on July 2 for further hearing.

Meanwhile, the court of Justice P. Somarajan issued a notice to Anto Augustine, another accused, on an appeal filed by the State government against the Mananthavadi Magistrate court’s order declining to issue an arrest warrant against him.

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