Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Valley School under scanner for second day

Valley School under scanner for second day
Monday February 18 2008 06:42 IST

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BANGALORE: Valley School authorities of Krishnamurthy Foundation are under the Bangalore Urban Forest Division’s scanner on the second day of the raid. Investigations were on against the alleged encroachment of 4.2 acres of reserve forest land worth Rs 7.5 crore and possession of 500 kg of sandalwood worth Rs 10 lakh.

A case under Section 64(A) of Karnataka Forest Act, 1963, was booked against the school. Speaking to this website’s newspaper, Conservator of Forests Dr U V Singh said that the case had been booked and unbiased investigation were on against the violators. Search for more sandalwood was still on in the 25 acre campus.

“The sandalwood is in the possession of the department. The outcome of the findings will however take some time,” he added. Singh had visited the encroached site and the spot where the logs were kept.

Following Saturday’s raid, the forest department constructed an elephant proof trench around the recovered property demarcating forest and private land. Solar fencing will be done at a later stage.

The school is situated in the Kaggalipura Range of Bangalore South Sub-Division, close to Kanakapura Road, near Tataguni Estate. It falls on the elephant corridor between Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) and B M Kaval.B M Kaval also has a large number of leopards and many sightings were reported in the past.Lakshmi Saldana of the Valley School claimed that they were innocent.

Lakshmi is wife of Leo Saldana against whom Law and Order Police and forest sleuths have booked two cases of trespassing and obstructing work of on-duty officials at Talagatapura Police station limits.

The school authorities claimed to have purchased the logs from elsewhere and were subsequently being sold to the forest department. Forest officials denied any such dealing.

“Neither the school nor forest sleuths had any proof of such dealings. The school could not substantiate their dealings and the recovered logs and shavings,” pointed out a senior forest official.

The logs were being used to carve sandalwood idols, but none were found at the site except wood chips and shavings.

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