Kochi: Actor Mohanlal may land in trouble if the forest department tries to ascertain the age of the elephant tusks in his possession using modern methods, including DNA test. Such technologies would help in locating the source of the ivory and determine whether it had any links with the illegal ivory trading.
The forest department filed a chargesheet against the actor at the Perumbavoor judicial first class magistrate's court the other day, seven years after the possession of four elephant tusks by the actor surfaced following an income tax raid on his residence at Thevara. Section 39 of the Wildlife Protection Act prohibits any person from possessing government property without the written permission of the chief wildlife warden or an officer authorised by him. Elephant tusk is a government property, according to the Wildlife Protection Act.
The state government in 2015 had directed the forest department to issue an ownership certificate to Mohanlal for the tusks in his possession. A writ petition, however, was filed in the High Court citing the inordinate delay in the proceedings of the case at the Perumbavoor JFMC based on the criminal case registered against the actor at Mekappala forest station in Kodanad range.
The petitioner also prayed to quash the government order issuing ownership certificate to the actor.
While considering this petition in April, the High Court had criticised the long delay in the case and also observed that the actor can be prima facie charged with section 39 (3) of the Wildlife Protection Act.