In a biggest operation of its kind so far, Nirmal district police on Monday busted a timber smuggling racket which involved 20 accused, including Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen party leader, Faheem, who is Deputy Mayor of Nizamabad Municipal Corporation.
Among other accused are an Armed Reserve SI from Nizamabad -- Shakeel Pasha, Forest Section Officer, Utnoor, in Adilabad district -- Rajender, Soan forest checkpost watcher, in Nirmal district -- Saddam, seven notorious Multanis timber smugglers of Adilabad district, three saw mill owners from Nizamabad and a couple of motor mechanics.
126 teak logs seized
The police arrested six accused and seized 126 teak logs valued at ₹16.5 lakh, a lorry and car used by the smugglers.
On information, Nizamabad Forest Department seized one saw mill and have launched investigation against owners of two other regarding their role in timber smuggling.
Producing the accused at a press conference Superintendent of Police at Nirmal Rural Police station C. Shashidhar Raju said cases were booked under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code, TS Forest Act, 1967, and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
Mr. Raju said timber smugglers will be dealt with stringently as Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has issued specific orders to protect forests and wildlife in the State.
Giving details of the operation, Mr. Raju said the lorry with illegally felled timber was intercepted at Soan forest checkpost following a tip-off. The car with four accused was intercepted after a chase, he added.
The involvement of the remaining accused came out following investigation. The police officials headed by the Superintendent of Police were commended for their work by senior officers.