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Friday, August 28, 1998 Published at 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK

World: South Asia

Elephant's day in court

Star witness in an ownership dispute

A full-grown elephant has appeared in court in India, because of a dispute between its owner and another man.

Unable to fit into the courtroom in the southern state of Kerala, the giant 32-year old male elephant called Narayanankutty appeared before the judge in an outside courtyard - his two front legs in chains.

The elephant was called to court so that a veterinary doctor could examine its state of health.

Its owner claimed the animal was being neglected by a man who had leased it.

Ownership dispute

The elephant was brought to court to solve an ownership dispute.

The man who had leased the elephant alleged that the owner had tried to reclaim his elephant before the lease expired.

But the owner said the man had refused to hand over the elephant after the expiry of the two-year agreement signed in 1993.

The court will give its verdict when it receives the vet's report.

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