Illegal Cutting & Smuggling Of Rosewood Trees: Accused files Bail Plea Before Kerala High Court

Case Title: Anto Augustine & Ors. v. State of Kerala

A bail application has been filed in Kerala High Court by the accused for illegally cutting rosewood tree and smuggling case.

The acussed party are a trio of entrepreneurs who have branches of different businesses across the State and abroad. They are charged of cutting down centuries-old rosewood trees allegedly from a reserved forest in Wayanad, without a valid permit.

The opposite party in the criminal case has accused the petitioners of cutting trees worth 8 crores without the consent or knowledge of the Revenue Department, thereby causing a huge loss to the Government.

In the bail application, the applicants have given statement that no prior permission of any government authority was required for cutting or removing rosewood trees from one’s own property.

They given special importance saying that these Orders were iissuedin accordance to the amendment in the Land Assignment Rules.

They stated that they had cut and removed trees on basis of certificates and Government orders issued by the Revenue Department. On this ground, they allege that the complainant, ie; Tahsildar, is misusing his power as an officer .

Additionally, the plea states that though the date of occurrence of the offence was recorded as November and December 2020, the FIR was lodged by the police only in June 2021, after an unexplained delay of 7 months.

They further said that the police is proceeding with their arrest without conducting any proper investigation.

The applicants had previously preferred a bail plea before the Judicial First Class Magistrate, but it was dismissed on 2nd August.

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