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Irregularities in Delhi zoo: CZA 'shocked'

Irregularities in Delhi zoo: CZA shocked

NEW DELHI: The Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the statutory authority to regulate zoos across the country, has blamed the Environment Ministry for not acting on those responsible for "shocking" irregularities in Delhi zoo, according to official documents.

In an affidavit filed on January 8 before the Delhi High Court, it said that certain officers of the zoo, who had pointed out the irregularities, appear to have been harassed as they were dragged as accused in the said illegalities raised by them only.

"The recent happenings in the national zoological park (also known as Delhi zoo), as has come to the knowledge of the Central Zoo Authority, is shocking and it is not imaginable and acceptable in any zoo in the country, not to think of it in wild dream, also it should be happening in the national zoo of the country, which is identified as national centre of excellence," CZA said in the affidavit.

The affidavit was filed in response to a public interest litigation moved by green activist Ajay Dubey, seeking a probe either by the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other competent agency on alleged illegalities in the Delhi zoo pointed out by him. Acting on Dubey's complaint, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had in August 2017 constituted a committee to look into the matter.

The CZA submitted the affidavit that the probe panel did not get the cooperation from the zoo officers and employees.

"Rather, the attitude of defiance and non-cooperation observed on the part of the officers and employees was shocking and they did not cooperate."

Somehow, the inquiry was conducted and its findings were submitted to the ministry in April last year, the affidavit said.

The inquiry found that monitor lizards were illegally caught (from outside) and released in the cell of the animal (inside the zoo).

"Based on the documentary evidence, it has been found that the death of many animals in the zoo was suppressed by the national zoological park authorities. The dead animals have been subsequently replaced with illegally captured animals," the

CZA said.

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