Controversial Kerala forest range officer returns to duty after suspension

joji john

Thodupuzha: A controversial range officer of Kerala Forest Department, Joji John, has rejoined the service after suspension for allegedly felling and smuggling teak from the Adimali range. He is appointed in the working plan section of the Punalur forest division.

He was suspended from service in December 2021 following allegations of tree felling. He was booked in a case for felling and smuggling seven teak trees from Mankuva and Ponmudi tree plantations under the Adimali range.

Adimali police also registered a case after allegedly uncovering that Joji had issued 62 tree felling passes in Adimali and 92 in the Neriamangalam range. The officials also reportedly seized smuggled teak from a building owned by Joji's mother.

The court had dismissed his anticipatory bail plea resulting in his arrest. The forest department suspended him from the service. Vigilance took over the case after it was found that the accused had received bribes from various parties to sanction tree felling. He is also suspected of smuggling rosewood from Thekkady, which was seized as mainour.

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