SOMWARPET: An unidentified person or a group of people torched a Tempo Traveller which was allegedly being used by a group of cow thieves from Mangaluru.
They had stolen eight cows from Kodagu and were reportedly transporting them to Mangaluru.
On obtaining information from the owners of cattle in a village called Thornoor under Kushalnagar police station limits, Kushalnagar police asked Kodlipet police to stop the vehicle. However, the driver and seven other people in the tempo did not stop. In the melee, they hit a motorcycle and fled towards Sakleshpur.
The police party from Kushalnagar that was chasing the tempo managed to intercept the vehicle at Aanemahal in Sakleshpur at 3 am.
Five cow thieves escaped after a scuffle with the police. A pickup van that was also accompanying the Tempo Traveller gave the Kushalnagar police a harrowing time, while trying to block the police party from getting near the tempo.
The pickup truck was also stopped and the police took both vehicles into their custody and parked them near the Kodlipet police station. They also arrested two people from Mangaluru, identified as Sharif and Mansoor. Five others who were also from Mangaluru have escaped.
The Tempo Traveller parked in front of the Kodlipet police station was torched by an unidentified group of people believed to be cow vigilantes. The vehicle was fully charred.
Kodagu Superintendent of Police Rajendra Prasad said efforts were on to nab the fugitives. Police in Hassan and Mangaluru have been notified about those who escaped.
The driver of the pickup van who tried to obstruct the Kushalnagar police party during the chase has escaped and police are on the lookout for him.
Following investigations, the police have taken Kumar and Dharmaraj into custody for torching the Tempo Traveller in Kodlipet. It is said smugglers stole Kumar’s cattles and enraged over this, the accused torched the vehicle. However, police say both Dharmaraj and Kumar are being questioned to find whether they were part of the cow vigilantism.