A. K. Saseendran | Screengrab: Mathrubhumi News
Thiruvananthapuram: Forest minister AK Saseendran has reacted to the allegations against him on meeting people who are booked in Muttil tree felling case. The minister revealed that he had a meeting with the accused in 2020 in connection with the launch of Mango mobile phones. Criticising the allegations, he said that his old pic with the accused has come out.
“Mango Mobile phone owners visited me showing interest to distribute the phones to students. But I informed them that I can’t take a decision on the matter. A pic featuring me along with them is being circulated on social media. Actually, it was clicked last year when they handed over a request letter to me. I don’t have any other connection with them,” declared the minister.
He criticized that attempts are being made to claim that the LDF government is involved in tree felling from the previous term.
“As per reports, even one foot long tree was not found missing from any revenue land. A probe was initiated to identify whether the forest officials are involved in tree felling. Strict action will be taken against those who supported the crime,” said the minister.
“Baseless allegations are being raised against the government. It is really unfortunate,” he added.
Responding to the opposition’s demand for a judicial probe into the tree felling case, the minister stated that a probe into the case is already in progress. Another probe would be initiated only if the government is not satisfied with the findings of the present probe team, he pointed out.
At the same time, Saseendran said DFO Dhanesh was not removed from the special investigation team probing the tree felling case. Dhanesh Kumar is in charge of Thrissur and Ernakulam districts. Directions were given to form a special investigation team to probe the tree felling. Those who are in charge of the investigation should not have any links in the district where they are deployed for duty. As per this rule, changes were made in the investigation team, informed the minister.