The Maharashtra government on Tuesday suspended a top Indian Forest Service officer five days after daring woman forest official Dipali Chavan-Mohite committed suicide at her home in Amravati, officials said.
Former Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Field Director of Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) M.S. Reddy, who had suddenly gone missing, has been suspended four days after he was removed from his post on March 26 and awaited a new posting.
The fast-paced developments came after Women & Child Welfare Minister Yashomati Thakur – who is Guardian Minister of Amravati – called on Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and submitted a memorandum demanding stringent action all those found involved in the matter.
On Friday, the Amravati police had arrested IFoS officer B. Vinod Shivkumar, as he was planning to flee from Nagpur to Bengaluru, and later the state government suspended him as the incident triggered a massive uproar in government and bureaucratic circles.
Range Forest Officer (RFO) Chavan-Mohite, 28, who took the extreme step by shooting herself with her service revolver at her official quarters, had left behind a suicide note addressed to Reddy, in which she had virtually accused Shivkumar on various counts like sexual harassment, professional torture, causing financial losses and mental trauma, etc. due to which she suffered a miscarriage last month.
Reddy was shunted out of his prestigious posts following complaints that he reportedly failed to heed Chavan-Mohite’s complaints against Shivkumar, currently in police custody. (IANS had first highlighted the late woman RFO’s plight in detail last May).
Feared as the ‘Lady Singham’ of the forests, Chavan-Mohite was renowned for various daring acts against dreaded jungle mafias and local politicians who, in tandem with tribals or villagers, engaged in different types of illegal activities in the forests.
Besides Thakur’s plea to the CM, Independent MP from Amravati Navnit Kaur-Rana staged a sit-in protest in the district demanding actions against all those responsible for Chavan-Mohite’s suicide, while several rights groups and associations of forest officers took up her case in a big way.