Photo: Ravindra Jadeja and wife Reeva Solanki pose in front of lions; inquiry ordered
Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who is presently spending some leisure time with his spouse Reeva Solanki, was at Sasan Gir in Junagadh district of Gujarat on June 14 and 15. Jadeja, who is a resident of the Jamnagar district in Saurashtra region, went on a lion safari at the Gir National Park and Sanctuary (GNPS) and has allegedly violated the forest rules.
The Gujarat forest department ordered an inquiry on Tuesday to look into the incident after the cricketer posted pictures on his Facebook page. The photos show Jadeja posing with his wife in front of a pride of Asiatic Lions and he reportedly stepped out of the safari vehicle, which is against the law, to get the photographs clicked.
The left-hander also posted a snapshot on the photo-sharing social network Instagram.
The chief conservator of forests (CCF) of the Junagadh wildlife circle, Aniruddh Pratap Singh was very critical with the incident and reported about the inquiry.
“GNPS is a protected forest and tourists are not allowed to get down from vehicles while inside the jungle. But pictures showing the cricketer having got down from vehicle in the jungle and having taken selfies with lions are circulating on social media. Even some forest guards are seen with him in photographs. Therefore, we have ordered GNPS superintendent to conduct an inquiry into the incident and file a report,” Singh told The Indian Express.
The entire episode took place in the absence of GNPS superintendent Ram Ratan Nala, who was away to attend Shala Praveshotsav, the annual school enrollment drive conducted by the Gujarat government.
In one of the photographs, the Gujarat Lions player is seen standing with two forest guards and this particularly did not please the officials of the Gujarat Wildlife Department.
“We have come to know that Jadeja got down from vehicle and took selfies with lions. Two range forest officers also happened to be in that part of the jungle at that time. We are inquiring into the incident and it is difficult at this juncture to tell what offence is made out against him. But merely getting down in the sanctuary is an offence,” said Nala.
It is worth recalling that the cricketer has been at the centre of a controversy for the second time in past three months. An FIR was earlier filed against his relatives for allegedly firing a revolver during the celebrations of the cricketer’s wedding at a hotel in Rajkot.