WWF sues Thapars

WWF sues Thapars

Controversy continues to dog thehelicopter crash in Corbett NationalPark last year, with the Indian branchof the World Wide Fund for Nature(WWF) filing a case recently in DelhiHigh Court, for unauthorised flyingin the Project Tiger park. The helicopter's occupants, from the Thapargroup of industries, are said to havebroken several laws to hunt game inthe park.

The WWF case alleges membersof the Thapar family have beenpoaching in the park for years andwere let off on a similar charge earlier because of political patronage.

The helicopter, belonging to aThapar firm, India InternationalAirways Pvt Ltd, crashed into theKakghar dam while making its thirdlanding on October 21, 1992. Parkofficials came to know of the crash in December when police reported ahelicopter was missing.The Thaparsare reported to have retrieved theaircraft illegally from the dam inJanuary. Bits of wreckage left behindare now in the custody of theUP police.

An enquiry panel set up byUnion minister of environment andforests Kamal Nath, accused the Thapars in its report of having violated the Wildlife (Protection) Act, theForests Act and Civil Aviation regulations. The Thapars are said to haveentered the park without official permission, poached in the foresi, hadtheir helicopter deviate from theflight path filed with aviation authorities and then fly at a low altitudeover the dam.

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