Shimla: Zila Parishad chairman of Shimla district Anirudh Rana has been found embroiled in a forest act violation case as state vigilance bureau have stumbled upon a large catch of high value cedar timber wood from a house owned by the congress leader.
Top vigilance officer KC Sadyal disclosed that a total of 435 logs of deodar tree wood had been taken into possession by the vigilance team that on a secret tip-off had raided the farm house in Mashobra on Thursday.
No permission from the forest department was made available to the investigating team about converting the trees into timber, he said. An FIR in the matter has been registered, he added.
The timber seized at market rates is estimated to value at about Rs 8 lakhs, sources disclosed.
The site from where the converted wood has been recovered happens to be the ancestral house of Rana, a congress leader who was unanimously elected chairman of Zila Parishad last year.
Acting upon a tip off the vigilance team had reached Mashobra on Thursday and found cedar logs at the house of the congress leader, at a neigbhours house and some were found lying scattered near the site where trees had been converted into logs.
When contacted Rana said no illegal act had been committed. Owning up that the timber logs recovered from the three sites belonged to him, Rana said that the forest department had been informed in writing that about 22 trees having fallen on his farm lands.
Due to a newly cut road passing through the lands, landslides triggered by last yearsâ€™ heavy monsoon are said to have uprooted the trees.
The trees that had fallen were on my land and for evidence the uprooted stubs are still lying at the site, said Rana. Converting such trees into timber after duly informing the forest department is not an illegal act, he maintained.