In a major setback to actor Mohanlal, the Kerala Forest Department on Friday filed a chargesheet against him in a court in Ernakulam in regard with the ivory possession case.
The case had hit headlines back in 2012, when ivory artefacts were seized from the popular actor’s house in Thevara and he was accused of illegally possessing them.
Forest Department officials confirmed to TNM that the chargesheet was filed against the actor at Judicial First Class Magistrate court in Perumbavoor on Friday. The move from the department comes seven years after a criminal case was registered against the actor at Mekappala Forest Station in Kodanad Range.
According to reports, the chargesheet states that it is punishable to possess or transfer ivory as per the Wildlife Protection Act.
According to reports, the Kerala High Court had recently raised criticism on why the case registered in 2012 was still lagging. The present move by the Forest Department is thought to be in response to the HC’s intervention.
In April, the HC had observed that Mohanlal can prima facia be charged with section 39 (3) of Wildlife Protection Act (No person shall, without the previous permission in writing of the Chief Wildlife Warden or the authorised officer can acquire or keep in his possession, custody or control of government property).
Though the actor was able to acquire ownership certificates for the artefacts after the case was registered, this was challenged in court by petitioner named AA Poulose, stating that there were irregularities in granting permission.
But earlier this month, the Kerala government responded to the petition filed in High Court, stating that no approval was given to the decision of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) to allow the actor possession of the ivory artefacts. According to the report, the same petitioner had requested the HC to direct the officials to complete probe in the case that was before Judicial First Class Magistrate Court in Perumbavoor.