Sandalwood smuggler shot dead, 3 others missing

Forest staff shot dead a sandalwood smuggler at Kamplapura Sandalwood Reserve at Huliyurudurga forests range in Kunigal taluk on Saturday.

Published: 23rd August 2021 06:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd August 2021 06:34 AM   |  A+A-

Deputy Commissioner Y S Patil along and senior officers examine the spot where a sandalwood smuggler was shot dead in Kunigal taluk, Tumakuru district.

By Express News Service

TUMAKURU:  Forest staff shot dead a sandalwood smuggler at Kamplapura Sandalwood Reserve at Huliyurudurga forests range in Kunigal taluk on Saturday. The deceased, aged around 30-35 years, is yet to be identified but he has ‘Eshwara’ in tattooed on his hand, in Kannada. Three other accused involved in chopping off sandalwood trees managed to escape. The forest staff on regular patrolling heard the sound and discovered the gang with a lot of chopped sandalwood.

The accused pelted stones and tried to escape. But, the deceased got stuck in the lantena groove and when the forest guard Shekar tried to catch him, the former attacked him with a machete. As the guard sustained serious injury on his palm and collapsed, deputy range forest officer Mahesh first shot at air with the double barrel gun to scare the accused. Since the accused was on a rage, the DRFO shot him dead and saved the guard who was later shifted to a hospital. Another forest watcher Sharanappa and two others on daily wages were part of the operation.

The Huliyurudurga police have seized saws and crowbars from the spot. The gang had camped in the forest overnight to chop the precious trees. “The gang seems like professional smugglers as they had even dug for the roots of the sandalwood trees that yield oil,” observed deputy conservator of forests Dr S Ramesh.

Deputy Commissioner Y S Patil and SP Rahul Kumar Shahapurwad also visited the spot. This is the first such instance of a sandalwood smuggler being encountered in the district. The body of the accused is kept at the district general hospital morgue for the identification but no one has claimed it.


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