A sandal smuggler was shot dead and nine others escaped after a tussle between sandalwood smugglers and forest officials at Sriramadevarahalla reserve forest in Belur taluk late Monday night.
The incident occurred when a group of 10 smugglers tried to attack Rajashekara Gowda, a range forest officer (RFO) and the guards deployed for patrolling to guard the logs axed by miscreants.
Rajashekara Gowda shot at the group in defence when they started hurling stones at him. At this juncture, one of the smugglers was gunned down on the spot and nine others escaped. According to sources, the smugglers, reportedly from Hyderabad, stayed in different parts of the same forest to decamp with sandalwood axed by them three days ago. The deputy conservator of forests had deployed forest officials and guards from Monday to protect the logs after learning of the incident.
It may be recalled that the smugglers had axed over hundreds of trees and left the logs on the spot three days ago. Superintendent of Police Ravi D Channannavar who visited the spot and said the police were making efforts to identify the body from their Andhra Pradesh counterparts. Halebid police have registered a case.