Star Indian heptathlete Swapna Barman has been at her home in Jalpaiguri in West Bengal for the last couple of months due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdowns.
Swapna, who received the Arjuna Award last year, has been sent a notice by the Forest Department for having 'illegal' timber at her house in Patkata area of Jalpaiguri.
Earlier on Monday, an official from the Belakoba Range asked Swapna about the house and asked about the wood being used to build for her new house adjacent to her current home.
The gold medal winner at 2018 Asian Games as well as the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships, couldn't produce 'satisfactory explanation', according to the Forest Department, and was sent a notice to submit the necessary documents along with being threatened with legal action.
On Thursday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee came to the defense of Swapna during a press conference after the matter was reported by the local media.
"Sapna is a very good girl. A Rajbongshi girl. The pride of Bengal. I love her very much. The forest department has filed a case against her for illegally stockpiling timber. I didn't know that before. I called her as soon as I found out. She talked to me. I told her not to worry about it," Mamata Banerjee said from Nabanna.
" 'We don't know anything,' she said. The raid was carried out without informing anyone. He is being transferred to another place," Mamata Banerjee added.
On Saturday, Swapna tweeted thanking the West Bengal Chief Minister.
Thank you so much to our Honourable Chief Minister @MamataOfficial for all the support!! Sincere love and respect!! ♥️#SB96 #TeamSwapna #DigitalIdeas pic.twitter.com/mOw10WyUT0 — Swapna Barman (@Swapna_Barman96) July 18, 2020
According to reports, the story behind the 'illegal' timber might be that during monsoon in the hilly regions of north-east Bengal, locals gather tree trunks that come floating downstream and sell for cheap rates.
Swapna and her family bought timber locally to use in building their house and had told the officials that they did not know their origin.