TIRUPATI/KADAPA: In four separate incidents in Chittoor and Kadapa districts on Wednesday, police made a huge haul of red sanders logs and arrested a woodcutter and nine smugglers. At Srivari Mettu near Tirupati, the cops fired shots into the air as the accused pelted stones.The Task Force team which kept a night-long vigil on Tuesday in the forest in Chittoor came in close proximity with 26 lumberjacks from Tamil Nadu at Medkala Banda near Srivari Mettu.
The group chopped off 26 fresh red sanders logs on Tuesday night and on realising that the task force team was on their trail, began raining stones, forcing the police to fire shots into the air to deter them.
According to Bhakrapet Forest Range Officer Raghu Nath, a group of Task Force and forest officers split into three small teams to track the lumberjacks at Mekala Banda. “Around 6 am, the woodcutters sensed the presence of the task force and began throwing stones. One of the teams fired into the air to discourage the accused from pelting stones. However, they managed to give the cops a slip and disappeared into the thick forests. But one was caught,” he said.
In two other incidents in the holy town, the Task Force chased and arrested two smugglers from Tamil Nadu and seized two vehicles. Following receipt of intel inputs, DSP Hari Babu instructed a team to wait for a jeep with the precious wood to pass Diguva Mallavaram near Tirupati.
The team chased down the Tavera racing towards Renigunta. The driver managed to escape, but a smuggler who hails form Javvadi Malai Hills was arrested and 11 logs seized.
In another incident, two alert constables chased a Bolero on a bike and seized 60 logs at Tiruchanur road in the town.
Meanwhile, in Kadapa district police arrested Mohammad Ismail, who has allegedly smuggled over 500 tonnes red sanders and five other smugglers. There are 19 cases against Ismail.
Over a hundred logs, a lorry and several other vehicles were seized from them.