This Article is From Aug 22, 2009

Tiger cage row: CZA gives clean chit to minister

Tiger cage row: CZA gives clean chit to minister

PTI image

New Delhi:

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has given clean chit to Maharashtra agriculture minister Balasaheb Thorat, who was accused of breaking wildlife rules and entering a tiger's cage at the Maharajbagh Zoo at Nagpur.

The CZA had rejected the report by the Nagpur Zoo giving the minister a clean chit and had decided to probe the matter itself.

According to sources, veterinary doctor S S Bawaskar in his report had said that "There was no violation of rules involved in the case as there was no teasing".

"Agriculture Minister Balasaheb Thorat had gone inside the zoo in his capacity as the pro-chancellor of the Agriculture University which is running the zoo," the report said.

After the incident was reported, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had said that action will be taken against the Minister depending on the report to be submitted by CZA. So, Saturday's decision has come as a relief for Thorat.

Thorat was filmed last week stroking a tiger cub in the zoo as his armed security guards and the city Congress president Jaiprakash Gupta looked on.

According to provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, only zoo personnel are authorised to enter animal enclosures. Any person who puts a protected animal in jeopardy can be given a maximum imprisonment of seven years.

(With PTI inputs)