Thursday 18 Apr 2024

Whodunit! Mystery deepens in Siolim tree felling episode



Intrigue over who actually authorised the tree felling for the widening of the Siolim road only grew after the Village Panchayat of Siolim-Marna in an affidavit told the Court that they have not done the tree cutting, while the contractor, in his affidavit before the High Court declined to state who the persons involved in his ‘crime’ were. 

Speaking to the media after the hearing, Advocate General Devidas Pangam said that the High Court has further sought affidavits from the PWD engineer who sought permission to cut the trees and the Forest Officer who granted it. 

“The contractor has filed an affidavit, he has not disclosed any name. He has said that he will be tried for an offence and that he cannot be forced to file an affidavit or make any statement, he has the protection under the constitution of India of not making any admission as far as criminal offences are concerned,” Adv Pangam said. 

“Further the High Court has directed the impleadment of two officers -- the engineer and the forest officer who had granted the permission for cutting of the trees. They are supposed to file affidavits by the next date -- that is by Monday they have to file affidavits explaining their action to grant permission and as far as the PWD employee is concerned whether and under what circumstances he applied for tree cutting,” he added. 

It may be recalled that earlier the PWD told the Court that it had no role in the tree felling and was not involved in the road widening. The Advocate General had also told the Court that the trees that were cut, were in private property and as such, if the PWD were to be undertaking the project, would have to acquire the land first. 

The matter will be heard further by the High Court on Monday.

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