Three forest officers were injured in an attack by teak smugglers at Mukra in Ichoda mandal of Adilabad district in the early hours of Saturday.
The attack occurred soon after the officials chased and nabbed a smuggler. The other smugglers retaliated, hit the officials with stones and rods and freed their accomplice from captivity.
Deputy FRO Praveen Mahajan suffered a head injury in the attack and collapsed on the ground while Adilabad forest range officer Nageswara Rao and beat officer Srinivas also suffered injuries.
After first aid at the Ichoda Primary Health Centre, the injured officers were shifted to RIMS in Adilabad town. They were discharged in the afternoon.
Based on reliable information that a truck laden with teak was going to Hyderabad from Adilabad district, the three officers lay in wait at Kupti Ghat in Ichoda mandal. When the truck arrived they tried to stop it but it sped away. As the officials gave a hot chase, the smugglers abandoned the vehicle at Mukra and tried to flee. However, the forest personnel succeeded in nabbing one of the two smugglers.
However, within a short time they had to encounter about 10 more smugglers who arrived there after being alerted by their accomplices. They first rained stones on the personnel from a distance. After realising that the officials did not possess any weapons, they ventured closer and hit them with rods.
The cornered forest staffers had to leave their captive and run for their lives.
The smugglers then escaped along with the timber.
When contacted, DFO Shekhar Reddy said they were taking the attack on the forest officials seriously. Following a complaint, the Adilabad police registered a case and took up investigation.
Two months ago, a similar incident took place in Kadem forest in which two forest personnel got injured after they were attacked with stones by about 25 people who were smuggling out teak wood on cycles.