High Court Orders CBI Probe Into Illegal Constructions and Tree Felling in Corbett Tiger Reserve


The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe extensive tree felling and illegal constructions within Uttarakhand's Corbett Tiger Reserve. The division bench, headed by Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Alok Kumar Verma, issued this order and directed a copy to the Director of CBI in New Delhi for compliance.

The court's 16-page order cited various inquiries and field inspections that revealed the involvement of high-ranking forest officials in the irregularities. It emphasized that it cannot remain a "mere bystander or spectator".

The court stated, "... the material on record does disclose a prima facie case calling for an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Therefore, the present matter is referred to the CBI for a proper and uninfluenced investigation in accordance with the law." It also urged all state authorities to cooperate fully with the CBI during the investigation.

A committee formed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority had conducted an inspection of Corbett Tiger Reserve and found that forest officials had manipulated government records to permit illegal construction activities, including roads, bridges, buildings, and water bodies.

Furthermore, a Forest Survey of India report in the order revealed that over 6,000 trees were illegally felled for a tiger safari project within the reserve.

Regarding the state government's actions in this matter, the high court expressed dissatisfaction, stating that suspending some officers and issuing charge sheets did not constitute substantial action given the seriousness of the allegations against high-ranking state authorities.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University