Madurai: The Conservator of Forests of Madurai Circle has admitted in Madras High Court Bench here that trees had been felled in the Megamalai hill area for conversion of coffee plantation into tea planation in Erasanakkanur village in Theni District.
In his counter to a petition seeking a CBI probe into the felling of trees, FR Ikram said the permission for felling trees given by the District Committee had been ordered to be cancelled, and felling and transportation of trees had been stopped.
It had been ordered to seize all the trees cut as well as the machineries used for the purpose.
According to the prelimary information, there were about 2,700 trees of various species of spontaneous growth that had been felled by the Dream View estate.
A forester, forest guard and a forest watcher had been suspended and charge memo had been issued to four other department officials, including two forest range officers, he said.
The wildlife warden of the Megamalai Wildlife Forest Division had been asked to explain all the irregularities as he had recommended the application for felling the trees.
Petitioner MJ Jeyapal submitted that trees worth several crores had been cut illegally in the Megamalai wildlife sanctuary and and sought the transfer of the entire officials working there.
He also sought a CBI probe into the cutting of the trees,
direct the forest department secretary not to permit any person from cutting trees in the sanctuary.
Justice R Sudhar and Justice VS Velumani ordered notice to the Dream View Coffee and Tea estate and posted the case for hearing on February 4.