HC stays Forest Department notice against MP Jaggesh

 A single-judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna on Monday granted an interim stay on the notice issued by the Forest Department to actor and politician Jaggesh over an alleged tiger claw he was seen wearing.

The HC said the department’s action of conducting a search and seizure operation on the Rajya Sabha MP’s house just an hour after issuing him a notice looked like a publicity stunt.

The Rajya Sabha member had approached the High Court of Karnataka challenging the notice after Forest officials had visited his house on October 25 evening. His wife had handed over the locket in his absence.

The HC issued an interim order of stay on the notice after it was submitted that the officials had visited Jaggesh’s residence only an hour after issuing the notice.

The High Court asked why time was not provided to Jaggesh to reply to the notice and whether the visit to his house was for publicity. The Court commented that forest officials should seek some other ways of garnering publicity instead of conducting raids on homes of people.

Jaggesh’s advocate argued that on October 25, the notice issued to him had stated that he should hand over any tiger claw that was in his possession. But within an hour they had visited his house and ransacked the place. He claimed that the notice was issued based on an interview the actor had given several years ago about a tiger claw that was 40 years old.

The government advocate submitted that the officers visited his house on information that he was about to destroy the tiger claw which was evidence against him.

The Court wondered who gave such information to the department within one hour of issuing the notice and said that it looks like something done for publicity.

The Court noted that while it was illegal to be in possession of any wild animal parts, the action of the department was questionable. Jaggesh’s advocate claimed that the MP was preparing for the Parliament Session and this operation was conducted in a manner to stall his official work.

In his petition before the High Court, Jaggesh has claimed that 14 officers of the Department, in the name of search operations have ransacked his home. He has sought the court to declare the action of the Department as illegal. He has also sought for the quashing of the notice issued to him.

The arrest of Varthur Santhosh, a contestant on the Bigg Boss Kannada reality show from the show premises on October 23 set off a chain reaction with photos and videos of several Sandalwood actors surfacing where they are seen wearing lockets apparently containing tiger claws.

Forest Department officials are probing actors Jaggesh and several others including two godmen for allegedly possessing banned wild animal parts.

Related Articles

Latest Articles