The District Crime Investigation Bureau (DCIP) personnel, following a tip off, raided an estate at Nalkeri village, Srimangala in South Kodagu and have seized timber worth crores of rupees which were illegally stored in the premises of the estate besides arresting a person yesterday.
While the arrested person is identified as Kallichanda Noban, the seized items include 80 Beete trees, 50 Hebbalasu, 50 Jackfruit, about 40 huge mango tree logs, one Toyota Fortuner vehicle of the accused, one Swaraj Mazda vehicle, one crane which was used to load the timber to trucks and one lorry loaded with jackfruit trees. It is learnt that Kallichanda Noban is an influential timber trader, who owns a saw mill and is into timber business since many years.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Dr. Suman D. Pennekar and Gonikoppal Forest Department officials, who rushed to the spot, inspected the seized items and inspected the place.
Gonikoppal Police, after registering a case, took accused Noban to Ponnampet Government Hospital for a health check-up and later produced him before a Court, which remanded the accused to judicial custody.
Addressing a press meet at Kutta Police Station yesterday, SP Dr. Suman D. Pennekar said that the DCIB has arrested three persons on charges of timber smuggling and illegal stocking of timber and have seized timber and other items worth crores of rupees from the estate. The SP further said that Kallichanda Noban is the prime accused and has been arrested along with lorry driver 54-year-old Rajendra of Nalkeri and labourer 30-year-old Aiyappa besides stating that the raid was conducted by the DCIB officials when wooden logs were being smuggled in a lorry by placing bags filled with sawdust on top of the logs.
Such a large quantity of timber being stored after felling trees illegally and the Forest Department having no information about it, has given rise to suspicion.