TIRUPATI: The Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed by the Andhra Pradesh Government to probe the killing of 20 woodcutters in Seshachalam forest, came here on Wednesday but decided to visit the encounter spot on Thursday.
The SIT team led by Ravi Shankar Ayyanar, which took the encounter-related case diary from police following the High Court directive, had a meeting with Tirupati Urban police.
According to sources, after going through the records handed over by the local police on the FIR and other issues relating to the encounter, the SIT officials’ doubts while verifying the records were seemingly clarified to an extent.
It was learnt that though the SIT officials intended to visit the spot near Srivari Mettu under Chandragiri mandal in Seshachalam forest on Wednesday, they postponed it to Thursday morning because of rain in the afternoon.
Though media was not allowed in the meeting hall, sources said the SIT head Ayyanar announced that the panel would complete the probe within the stipulated time and would submit its report to the High Court. SIT official BV Ramana Kumar and Tirupati Urban SP Gopinath Jetty and others were present.
Meanwhile, forest and environment minister Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy asserted that Andhra Pradesh government would not tolerate the menace of red sanders smuggling. He said the government was taking all steps to protect the precious red sanders trees spread across 5 lakh hectares in Seshachalam forest. He also said steps were being taken to tackle the smuggling. The names of bigwigs involved in smuggling would also exposed soon, he added.
Speaking to media persons in Chittoor on Wednesday, Bojjala, once again criticised various associations for making a hue and cry about the encounter.
“Instead of condemning the smugglers who are looting the national wealth and amassing huge sums by sending the logs abroad illegally, the people associations air their sympathy for the smugglers,” he said.
He said that some of the bigwigs involved in smuggling were behind the people associations and were trying to divert the focus. He said the government would go on taking stern measures to curb the red sanders smuggling menace.
Cops question Nitu Agarwal
Kurnool: Film actress Nitu Agarwal, who was in judicial custody at Nandyal sub jail, was handed over to Rudravaram police on Wednesday for interrogation, following Koilakuntla court order. She is Accused 10 in the red sanders smuggling case. Police had filed a case against her in connection with red sanders smuggling, and having close links with the Chagalamarri MPP and film producer Mastan Vali. On Wednesday, Nandyal sub jail staff sent her by a special vehicle to Sirivella police station.