Sholas forests at Brahmagiri Wildife Sanctuary. Image: By L. Shyamal via Wikimedia Commons
The Karnataka Forest Department seems to have lost the Lokayukta report indicting and recommending action against G.A. Sudarshan, the Conservator of Forests(presently serving Shimoga), for his involvement in letting the timber mafia chop down trees in the Western Ghats forests in Kodagu in return for a bribe back in 2007. In a apparent move to buy more time instead of taking action against the Conservator of Forests, they have asked the Lokayukta to send a new copy to them.
Following the disclosure, G.A. Sudarshan was suspended in 2007, only to be reinstated and brought back to Kodagu at the best of the BJP ex-President Sandanada Gowda. But when things got to heat up after Air Marshal K C Cariappa filing a petition on the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court’s Central Empowerment Committee taking note, he was transferred out of Coorg.
A committee headed by Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests in a report had submitted that the officer was solely responsible for felling 3,750 trees in virgin, evergreen and semi-evergreen forests and granted permissions to widen roads in forest areas violating Forest (Conservation) Act 1980.
The Virajpet MLA and Speaker, K.G.Bopaiah had even tried to pressurize the ex-cm B.S.Yeddyurappa to reinstate the tainted forest officer and that too – back to Coorg.
Sudarshan somehow got his job back and he is now conservator of forests (plans and survey), Shimoga.
The former Lokayukta cheif Justice Santosh Hegde has warned the forest department and told them that he knows how to deal with them.