Karnataka’s forest department is conducting searches at the home of Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa Shrinivas after an image of him allegedly wearing a ‘tiger claw pendant’ around his neck went viral on social media, India Today reported. The pictures that have surfaced online are allegedly from the actor’s recent visit to Sri Kshetra Horanadu temple. The search by the forest department comes after a complaint was lodged by a Janata Party worker.
During the search, a tiger-claw-like material was found from the actor’s Bengaluru home. The material will be sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for inspection.
Earlier today, PTI reported that actor Darshan and BJP Rajya Sabha MP Jaggesh were under scanner after complaints were filed against them for possession of wildlife articles. Teams of senior officials from the state’s forest department visited various places to probe celebrities against whom complaints have been received.
Karnataka Environment and Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre said the law of the land is applicable to all without any discrimination and the government will act as per the law.
Earlier on Sunday, Bigg Boss Kannada reality show contestant Varthur Santosh was arrested from the set for allegedly wearing a tiger claw pendant. He was later sent to 14 days in judicial custody.
Following his arrest, some photos of Kannada film actor Darshan, actor-turned-politician Jaggesh, and JD(S) leader Nikhil Kumaraswamy purportedly wearing such pendants also surfaced on social media. Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the son of former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, clarified that the tiger claw pendant that he was seen wearing was fake.
“It has been reported in some media that Nikhil Kumaraswamy wore a Tiger claw pendant during his marriage. This is far from the truth. I am certainly aware of the seriousness of the Wildlife Protection Act. The Tiger claw pendant I was wearing was fake, not real. It was given as a gift for my marriage. I still have it. Concerned authorities can verify,” he said in a statement on ‘X’.
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Kumar Pushkar, said the department has received a formal complaint against Darshan, leading producer Rockline Venkatesh, Jaggesh, Venkateshwara Swamy in Kunigal and Vinay Guruji in Chikkamagaluru among others.
“We are verifying all these cases which have come to our notice through the media and several organisations which were received by us this morning. So, we are verifying each and every one of them and we will take action as per the Wildlife Protection Act wherever we find that the person actually possesses such wildlife articles,” he told PTI.