An unidentified person believed to be involved in smuggling red sander logs was found shot dead at near point-blank range at Sankaraiahgaripalle near C.Mallavaram in Tirupati Rural Mandal on Tuesday.
The man was shot between his eyebrows and just above the nose, while there was a similar hole on the rear side of his skull.
A red sander log was found in the vicinity that suggests his involvement in the spree of smuggling incidents during the last week.
Though initially believed to be an ‘encounter death’, both the forest and police departments claimed no role behind it, besides indicating that it could be a result of internal squabbles among two groups of smugglers.
Superintendent of Police (Tirupati Urban) J. Prabhakar Rao preferred to wait for the post-mortem report before coming to a conclusion on the nature of the death. When the forest officials used a Tamil Nadu-based smuggler in their custody to identify the body, the deceased person was found to be a native of Tiruvannamalai district regularly hired for such smuggling assignments.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) state leader K.Kranti Chaitanya and district convener Kumar condemned the attack and blamed the forest department for the death.