Monday, August 20, 2007

whirlwind tour of the world

again my regularity in writing here has left me... ofcourse it is not my fault... nothing ever is :). Anyway on the road again and it has been hectic, first couple of days were spent with Suma and Abhinav training in dortmund (Germany) and believe me it was action packed... watching these guys who are like statues shooting at a black dot 10m away... just kidding... it was good to see them in a training scenario and a lot was accomplished. Gaby their coach is optimistic and hey i am jumping on the bandwagon. Suma has an important trial coming up so will keep you guys posted on that.
Then to Pontefract (somewhere in north of england) to watch joshana who has just started training with her new coach Malcolm Willstrop. Josh seems happy (phew!!!) working with him and plus the most exciting place in the whole town in the squash club so it looks like she is going to be spending a considerable amount of time there.
Now in london for a few meetings (nothing exciting)....
On a more serious note, i have just learned how all the associations boycotted the ministry's meeting to talk about the new policy. Funny how none want to be accountable... I really don't see the big deal, of being transparent and accountable. For those who haven't already sent in their comments please do so as the deadline is the 25th of Aug... i think all sports lovers will support this policy unfortunately we are again in the minority.
Off to New York tomorrow for some meeting with athletic coaches....


Anonymous said...


Poaching Charges Dog Khel Ratna Awardee

The CBI has enough evidence against Trap Shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu to nail him but the Chandigarh wildlife department’s dithering could save him

Vikram Jit Singh

It was a quirk of fate that led the CBI to unearth poached wildlife articles and nearly 151 photographs showing world trap shooting champion and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee for 2006, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, killing wild animals.

Trophyboy: Manavjit with father Gurbir
On October 10, 2006, the CBI stumbled upon the evidence while raiding the houses of then Sangrur MLA and arms dealer, Arvind Khanna. Khanna’s MLA flat in Chandigarh had been let out to Manavjit’s father, Gurbir Singh Sandhu, himself a former international trap shooter. However, both father and son have gone scot-free despite the evidence handed over by the CBI due to the bungling of the Chandigarh wildlife department.

Nearly 10 months have gone by since the CBI handed over 151 pictures of Manavjit and Gurbir with shikar. These include pictures of Manavjit with more than half-a-dozen wild boars and deer shot in different shoots. Gurbir, too, features in these photos, with one picture showing Gurbir with dead wild boars in another state with tribals loading the kills onto a Maruti Gypsy. The CBI, which had seized the negatives and two video clips, gave them to the Chandigarh administration for investigation.

Apart from the incriminating pictures, the CBI seized wildlife articles from the flat. “Of these, some were declared before the Chandigarh administration in 2003 while others had not been. The undeclared ones (eight) include boar tusks and antlers. There were also 151 pictures, most of them dealing with shikar. Manavjit is in these pictures,’’ Chandigarh Wildlife Warden and Inquiry Officer (io) HS Sidhu told TEHELKA.

With Manavjit turning 31 this year, any picture of his with the kills must date to when the shooter was 16 because of the all-India ban on hunting that was imposed in 1991-92. Any hunting since then can be undertaken only on special permit for killing either wild animals declared vermin or man-eater. However, Manavjit’s pictures show him to be more than 16 years old. “The evidence is very strong. However, I have deputed Sidhu to undertake the inquiry. There has been a delay. I have asked Sidhu to submit a preliminary inquiry report by this month. I have also asked him to seize any wildlife articles declared by Gurbir if he thinks that they are fresh and may have been due to poaching. I have directed him to also identify each and every person in the photos. We have summoned Gurbir twice and have directed him to appear again on August 21,’’ Chandigarh Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) Ishwar Singh said.

Despite the CBI handing over the articles to the Chandigarh wildlife department and sending a report of the seizure to the CBI hq, the department has done its best to thwart the probe. “Under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, any seizure of illegal wildlife articles dictates that the wildlife officers confiscate the property and bring it to the notice of the Chandigarh Chief Judicial Magistrate by lodging a complaint. Even the persons found in possession of the illegal articles can be sent to judicial remand. The case has then to be investigated and challaned. An offence under the Act for animals covered under Schedule iii and iv can entail imprisonment of three years or a fine upto Rs 25,000,’’ a senior wildlife officer told TEHELKA. However, in the Sandhus’ case, the inquiry is moving at a snail’s pace and even a preliminary report has not been prepared. The video clips have yet not been opened by the io. Though Manavjit figures in most pictures, he has not been called for an explanation. Gurbir is known as a high-flyer with contacts among top politicians and bureaucrats.

When asked about the delay, Sidhu said: “I have a work overload. The witnesses in the case do not appear. Also, I had to go to England twice for marriages in my brother’s family.’’ Asked as to why Manavjit had not been summoned, he said: “I have not studied the pictures carefully.” When TEHELKA asked him for the incriminating pictures, Sidhu refused. “The case is under investigation,” he said. This apart, the Sandhus are in trouble over the wildlife articles declared by them under the immunity scheme. The scheme declared by the Union ministry of environment and forests in 2003 termed ‘Declaration of Wildlife Stock Rules 2003’ stipulates that only articles falling under Schedule i and Part ii of Schedule II of the Act can be granted an ownership certificate. However, most of the 25 articles declared by Gurbir are ineligible as these fall under Schedule iii and iv. When Sidhu was asked as to how these were declared by Gurbir, he said: “I don’t want to comment.”
While Manavjit could not be contacted as he was in Cyprus, Gurbir said he was “explaining everything to the Chandigarh administration. There is no hush-up. I am cooperating. I have declared the articles and that shows my honourable intentions. Manavjit is not involved in any poaching.”

Asked about the pictures with Manavjit with the kills and trophies, Gurbir said: “The one of a dead leopard and Manavjit was taken in Karnataka, where a permit was issued to shoot the man-eater that had killed 11 kids. That was seven to eight years back. There are pictures of Manavjit with hunting trophies in Brunei’s Rifle Club, which is, again, not an offence.”

When Gurbir’s attention was drawn to the pictures in India showing numerous boars and deer, Gurbir said: “I do not remember all the pictures but Manavjit is not involved in poaching at all. As far as my pictures with dead boars are concerned, I am going to justify these.” He added, “Some of these are 15-20 years old.”

However, the CWW told TEHELKA: “I am satisfied with the explanation with regard to only one picture, the man-eating leopard one. The rest they will have to justify, otherwise it will go against them.” The CWW also said that since the case had inter-state ramifications, he was considering handing it over to the Union ministry for a thorough probe. Gurbir sought to justify the “non-declared” wildlife articles recovered by the CBI as a result of a “counting error”. Gurbir claimed that he had declared them in 2003 and that there must have been some mistake then.

However, Gurbir’s explanation is on a sticky wicket as each and every wildlife article declared before the Chandigarh administration in 2003 was photographed four times and whose details were put down in an elaborate format. The possibility of boar tusks and deer antlers being miscounted is virtually zero. “I have asked Sidhu to prepare a list of all the articles declared and non-declared. I have also directed him to classify the articles according to the Schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act,” said the CWW.

Anonymous said...

Manisha Malhotra said...

no because no money goes directly to him... they go directly to coaches, equipment suppliers etc...
this is not something that is positive...