Bhadarwah: Jammu and Kashmir government has suspended three forest guards for their alleged failure to check smuggling of forest timber and chopping of trees in Bhaderwah belt of Doda district.
Mushtaq Khan, Irshad Ahmed and Rishi Kumar were suspended by Conservator Forest Chenab Circle, M M Gupta for failing to check smuggling by timber mafia, Forest officials said.
"The action was taken after finding that the accused have failed to check felling and facilitating illegal activities," Gupta said, adding that further action against the erring officials will be taken by Chief Conservator after completing the probe.
The smuggling of green gold and cutting of forest trees in connivance with some forest officials was busted with the arrest of 10 smugglers in two different operations from Kellar and Neeru Ranges of Bhadarwah Forest division on February 28 and March 6.
Forest ministry has constituted a high level fact-finding team of Chief Conservator, Jammu, Ravi Kumar Kesar and Joint Director Forest Protection Force, B M Sharma, they said.
The probe team after visiting Compartment 57 of Dandi Block and Compartment 49 of Puneja Block of Neeru range reportedly found illegal felling of hundreds of young trees besides dozens of stumps of recently cut green cedar trees, some of them burnt.
Commissioner Secretary Forest Ejaz Iqbal has denied that some officials of Bhadarwah forest division were being shielded and action was taken only against beat guards.
"I have not received report yet, then how can I shield someone. I had ordered inquiry into the incident, so there is no question of me trying to shield my relatives posted in Bhadarwah Forest division.
"Anyone found guilty will not be spared at any cost and strict action will be taken against the culprits," he said.