Bargarh: The Odisha Crime Branch (CB) on Monday began its probe into the death of a big cat, whose decomposed carcass was found in Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Bargarh district on October 29.
According to reports, a team led by the DSP Bilasini Nayak arrived at the sanctuary this morning and initiated a probe.
The team held a meeting with DFO (Bargarh) Abhaya Kumar Dalei and interrogated the four arrested persons, who confessed to have killed the tiger.
On November 3, CB Additional Director General (ADG), Santosh Upadhyay had told the media that a thorough probe would be conducted on the basis of the detailed report it had received from the Forest Department.
Talking about the arrest of four persons involved in the incident, the ADG had said that there was a possibility that poachers from the neighbouring Jharkhand may have committed the act.
On the other hand, Odisha Regional Chief Conservator of Forest (RCCF), OP Singh claimed that the decomposed pugs and the moustache seized from near the carcass by the forest staff on November 2 were that of a Royal Bengal tiger.
State Forest and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray had earlier said that the carcass was that of a leopard, which was buried after its death.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Sandip Tripathy had said that the postmortem revealed that the carcass was of a leopard of around 2 to 3 weeks old.
According to the statement given by the four arrested, identified as Satyaban Sahu and Sushil Bhue of Khajuria village, Gouri Mirdha of Kudapada village and Jakria Tudu of Mundapada village, they had laid a trap near a field on the outskirts of the sanctuary on October 13 to catch wild boars.
The following day, they found a Royal Bengal tiger in it. Later, they killed the tiger and took off its moustaches and nails after severing its head and then dumped in an open pit inside the sanctuary. The four were forwarded to the court on Sunday.
A two-member team of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, which had arrived in Bargarh on Sunday evening, will also begin its investigation into the incident on Monday. The team will submit its report within 10 days.
The NTCA had earlier sought a detailed report from the state Forest and Environment Department on the circumstances leading to the death of the big cat and the action it had taken so far.