Maha: Forest official held for woman colleague's suicide

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(Eds: Updating the copy with quotes) Amravati, Mar 26 (PTI) A forest official was arrested on Friday for allegedly abetting the suicide of a woman colleague, who shot herself with a service weapon in Maharashtra's Amravati district, police said.

The police nabbed Vinod Shivkumar, deputy conservator of forest, Googamal Wildlife Division of Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR), from Nagpur Railway station in the morning hours, said Amravati superintendent of police (rural) Dr Hari Balaji N.

According to the police, Shivkumar was arrested based on a complaint lodged by the family of range forest officer Deepali Chavan (34), who allegedly shot herself with a service revolver at her home in Harisal village of Amravati on Thursday.

The accused will be produced before the court for his police custody remand, the official said.

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

According to an FIR, the victim was allegedly tortured, harassed, insulted and abused by the accused, which drove her to suicide.

The victim allegedly left behind a suicide note implicating the accused and also blaming the MTR project director for not taking heed of her repeated complaints against the accused, it was stated.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the principal chief conservator of forests based in Nagpur, chief conservator of forests (Mantralaya) Arvind Apte said an order has been issued to suspend Shivkumar.

The additional charge of Shivkumar's post has been given to deputy chief conservator of Sipna Wildlife Division Avinash Kumar until further orders.

Additional principal chief conservator of forests and field director of MTR (Amravati) M S Reddy, did not take note of the complaints Chavan made 'from time to time' and added that this too was a serious matter.

'In the present situation, the charge of Reddy's post is being handed over to Pravin Chavan, Indian Forest Service, Chief Forest Conservator (Territorial), Amravati,' Apte said. PTI COR ENM ARU ARU