Maha: Demand for arrest of senior forest official over woman colleague's suicide

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Nagpur, Mar 30 (PTI) A forest officers' association here on Tuesday demanded the arrest of the Melghat Tiger Reserve's field director in connection with the suicide of a woman forest official in Maharashtra's Amravati district.

Range forest officer Deepali Chavan (34) allegedly shot herself with a service revolver at her home in Harisal village of Amravati last Thursday.

Later, Vinod Shivkumar, the deputy conservator of forest, Googamal Wildlife Division of Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR), was arrested on Friday for allegedly abetting her suicide.

Members of the Gazetted Forest Officers Association, Nagpur, on Tuesday gave a memorandum to head of the state forest force, demanding that MTR field director M S Reddy be arrested and made a co-accused in the case.

They also demanded that offences be registered against Shivkumar under Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder), 354-A (sexual harassment) and 376-C (sexual intercourse by a person in authority), and that he should be removed from service.

The association also demanded a departmental inquiry against Shivkumar and Reddy.

It also said a committee should be formed under the chairmanship of a senior woman IPS officer to conduct a probe into the case and it should be heard in a fast-track court.

According to police, Shivkumar was arrested based on a complaint lodged by Chavan's family.

Relatives and well-wishers of the victim last week staged demonstrations before the post-mortem room of the district general hospital in Amravati and reportedly refused to take the body until Reddy was also arrested in the case.

As per an FIR lodged in the case, the victim was allegedly tortured, harassed, insulted and abused by the accused, which drove her to suicide.

The victim left behind a suicide note, in which she purportedly implicated the accused and also blamed the MTR project director for not taking heed of her repeated complaints against the accused, it was stated. PTI CLS GK GK