Bengaluru

Forest officials cheated of ₹1.25 lakh

Officials waited for over eight hours for the poachers to show up.   | Photo Credit: SREEJITH R KUMAR

A team of forest officials, who planned an elaborate operation after being alerted about a gang of poachers, were conned of ₹1.25 lakh. “We are on the lookout for the culprit who was able to convince forest officials that he was an informer. This is a major embarrassment for the Forest Department,” said a police officer attached to Madanayakanahalli station.

Based on a complaint filed by Anil Kumar G., Deputy Range Forest Officer with the vigilance squad, Aranya Bhavan, Malleswaram, the police have taken up a case of cheating and criminal breach of trust against the accused, Siddu Sabanna.

On April 6, Siddu walked into the Forest Department office and told officials that he had information about a group of poachers selling tiger pelts and elephant tusks. He was so convincing that officials agreed to run an operation where Siddu, under the guise of a buyer, would approach the poachers.

“Anticipating that they would nab the gang of poachers, Mr. Kumar and his colleague Siddaraju, along with the vigilance squad, accompanied Siddu to a shed near the Unibic factory on Huskur Road with a bag filled with ₹1.25 lakh. Siddu had told the officials that the poachers had agreed to meet him there with one tiger pelt and elephant tusks,” said the police officer.

Siddu told the officials that he would wait for the poachers in the shed with the cash. He instructed the team of forest officials to hide and wait for his signal. Once the poachers approached him, the officials could surround the shed.

“As per the plan, the forest officials waited at a distance from 10.30 a.m. to 7 p.m., but there was no sign of the poachers. When they went to check the shed, it was empty,” said a police officer. The officials searched for Siddu before alerting their seniors, following which a police complaint was filed.

“This is sheer negligence on the part of the forest officials. They trusted the man with cash and did not even conduct a background check or keep tabs on him. We don’t even know if his real name is Siddu,” said a senior police official. “There is a standard operating procedure for such cases, which was not followed.”

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 2:27:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/forest-officials-cheated-of-125-lakh/article34291138.ece

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