Muttil tree felling case: Report reveals 231 phone calls between accused and range officer

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Kalpetta: It has come to light that the former Range Forest Officer held 231 telephonic conversations with Roji Augustine, prime accused in the Muttil tree felling case. According to a report, M Padmanabham, range forest officer of the Kalpetta flying squad, held a regular telephonic conversation for almost five months with the accused.

A report submitted by the chief conservator of forest DK Vinod Kumar details the role played by M Padmanabham in the case. During his tenure as Flying Squad Range Officer, Padmanabhan called Roji Augustine 130 times through his phone from January 6 to May 30, 2021.

At the same time, Roji Augustine also contacted Padmanabhan 101 times. Earlier, the Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) had alleged in their report that Padmanabhan colluded with the accused. This claim was confirmed by the report submitted by DK Vinod.

It was also alleged that former Mepadi Range Officer MK Sameer was repeatedly called by Padmanabhan and asked to consider Roji’s brother Anto Augustine's request to cut trees.

According to the report, it was clear that Padmanabhan had links with the accused and helped them beyond his official role. It is a serious breach of discipline to conspire to plunder government property by creating a favourable environment for the accused instead of taking strict action.

It was also alleged that Padmanabhan, as part of the vigilance unit, did not conduct a site inspection and did not inform the higher officials when the trees were fallen.

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