KOYA: A decades-old sandalwood tree worth over a crore was stolen from the premises of a government bungalow in Kota's Nehru Garden area, police said Thursday.
The bungalow is allotted to a family court judge, who was away with his family for winter break when the suspected theft took place, officials said.
The incident happened on the night of December 30 and the tree is estimated to be over three tons in weight, they said.
The case was reported to the police by the judge on Wednesday after he returned to Kota.
According to the Station House Officer of Natapura police station, Manoj Rana, the matter was being investigated but there was no clue about the thieves yet.
The thieves had also disconnected the electric supply and telephone line of the bungalow, he said.
It is being assumed that they then used the electric supply to operate the woodcutter, the officer said.
They must have transported the tree by some vehicle from the backyard of the bungalow, he said.
The entre process of cutting a tree and transporting it, tends to consume about three to four hours and it cannot be carried out without help from the guards and caretakers, said Brijesh Vijayvergya, an environment and wildlife activist.
He said that theft of sandalwood trees from government bungalows in the city were reported in the past as well but no stern action was taken.
The value of the sandalwood tree in the fair market is in lakhs, while, in the black market one can sell it for over a crore as a ton ranges from Rs 30 to 35 lakhs, an expert said.