The Nellore district police on Sunday arrested 61 woodcutters belonging to the border districts of Tamil Nadu during combing operations in the far-flung Marripadu and Veligonda forest areas in the past 24 hours.
Nellore Superintendent of Police Gajarao Bhupal said the police suspect that they are part of the same group of 100 woodcutters, who were allegedly involved in cutting red sanders trees and smuggling the logs from the Seshachalam forests, on April 7.
They reportedly escaped into the forests in Nellore district after the encounter. He said those arrested were from Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram and Salem districts. Atmakur DSP Subba Reddy said, “The offenders were moving in two groups of 43 and 18 members . They have been booked on the charges of illegally transporting red sanders logs, resisting employees on duty and attempt to murder.” The police said logs worth Rs. 2 crore were seized from the woodcutters.
Tirupati reporter writes:
Family members of the 20 persons, who died in an alleged >encounter in the Seshachalam forest near here, on Sunday lodged a police complaint against the task force members involved in the operation. The relatives of 19 families came from Tiruvannamalai and Vellore districts to Chandragiri police station to file the complaint.