Amaravati: Police taskforce arrested seven sandalwood smugglers in Setiipalli forests in Railway Koduru Mandal. Officials confiscated 54 sandalwood logs from the smugglers in a joint operation with forest personnel on Saturday night.
The joint action team started combing operations from Kukkaladoddi and waited near Chengaiah Madugu. They found eight smugglers carrying sandalwood logs. On seeing the police, the bootleggers dropped the woods and tried to flee away. However, the police caught three of them and were handed over to the task force.
On further investigation, task force Circle Inspector Subrahmaniam found that some smugglers were still there in the forest carrying sandalwood logs. He alerted higher authorities. Taskforce’s in-charge SP Ravisankar and DSP Allah Bakshi plunged into action and went into the forest with their force. The police traced ten smugglers, but they could capture only four of them. The remaining six ran away from the spot. Police confiscated 46 logs from the place.
Ravisankar briefed the media about the joint operation on Sunday. He appreciated the officers who participated in the operation. The smugglers were identified as Gudipati Prabhakar (21), Ch Srinivasulu (36), T Guruvaiah (38), Chenchuramaiah (26), K Chenchuramaiah (26), and Bonala Sudhakhar (46).
Red sandal smuggling is prevalent in Seshachalam forest. Police and forest departments are trying hard to control it. The sandalwood businessmen hire labourers from Tamil Nadu for trafficking. There were instances in which smugglers killed officials when the latter tried to arrest them.
Four years back, AP police encountered around 20 Tamil labourers in Seshachalam forests. Some associations in Tamil Nadu made scathing criticism on the encounter. It sparked a row, and there was a tension among the neighbouring states. Human rights commissions issued notices to the AP police and government. A case was registered against AP police in the matter.