VELLORE: The Melpatti police have launched a manhunt for two sand smugglers who allegedly assaulted two Village Administrative Officers (VAO) when the VAOs confronted several individuals illegally quarrying sand from the Palar riverbed near Reddimaankuppam at 10 pm on Monday.
VAOs M Senthil Kumar (Kailasagiri) and K Govindasamy (Vengili), acting on a tip-off, rushed to the Palar riverbed near Reddimaankuppam around 10 PM. The two VAOs saw a few men loading a tractor with sand and immediately alerted Revenue Inspector, Madhanur Rajeswari over the phone. Rajeswari rushed to the spot along with four staff members to investigate.
However, the smugglers managed to flee with the tractor loaded with sand but not before two members of the gang, later identified as Kennedy and Nesaraj of Reddimaankuppam, allegedly assaulted the VAOs.
Following this, the revenue officials filed a complaint with Melpatti police who have charged the gang members under Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 379 (causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 430 (punishment for theft), 294 (b) (uttering obscenities) of the IPC and invoked the Mines and Minerals Act.The police have traced the tractor that was used in the smuggling and have confiscated it. “We have confiscated the tractor used to smuggle the sand and launched a search for the duo, who remain at large,” said the police.