Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, reportedly the tallest domestic elephant in India, has secured another record. The elephant could perhaps be the first in the country to be charged with murder and released on bail.
Ramachandran, which stands 3.17m tall and fondly called Raman, was released last week in a case related to the death of three women after he ran amok at a temple festival in Perumbavoor on January 27. The Malayattoor forest division had filed the case against the elephant, temple and devaswom authorities.
Thechikottukavu peramangalathu devaswom, which owns 45-year-old Ramachandran, had to submit a bond of Rs 30 lakh and surety of two persons to secure his bail. The elephant was in the custody of forest officials after the attack. As per rules, an elephant should not be included for any parade for 15 days after such attacks.
The court had earlier declined a request from the devaswom authorities for his release to parade him at the Thechikottukavu festival on February 12 after forest officials produced a medical report, claiming Ramachandran is a problematic elephant and he should not be paraded for the next three months.
It was at this juncture that the devaswom authorities moved the bail application. As per the Kerala Captive Elephant Maintenance and Management Rules, an elephant that creates a problem is released by submitting an affidavit on a Rs 50 stamp paper, which will contain all details of the animal. But the forest officials were adamant in Ramachandran's case.
Devaswom president Vasudevan Kurumboor said they had not sought Ramachandran's release for any festival. Malayattoor divisional forest officer B N Nagaraj said veterinary officials would examine the elephant again after three months and the court would take a decision based on the medical report.
The elephant was brought to Kerala from Bihar by A N Ramachandran, a bank employee in Thrissur and Thechikottukavu devaswom bought him in 1984.