ANDHRA PRADESH

Sandalwood trees stolen



Staff Reporter

Security guards alleged to be fast asleep

HYDERABAD: Thieves broke into Indira Park and fled with seven sandalwood trees on Friday night. The theft sent officials into a tizzy as it occurred hardly 100 metres away from the residence of MCH Commissioner Sanjay Jaju.

The sandalwood trees are said to be worth Rs. 9,200 and the theft happened despite 11 security guards working on the night shift.

Battery-operated saws

Police said the thieves gained entry into the park by scaling the compound wall and cut all the trees with battery-operated saws ``We suspect more than five persons might have committed the offence. They cut the branches and lowered them with a rope. Later, they made away with the two-feet length pieces,'' said Gandhinagar Sub-Inspector Y Yadagiri.

The guards were allegedly sleeping after putting-off all the lights when the incident happened. Horticultural Assistant Director and park in-charge T Sunitha said that the sandalwood trees had no market value as they were not red sandalwood trees. About 30 trees were planted at different places in the park.

She said the private security agency would be penalised for its personnel's dereliction of duty. Based on a complaint lodged by Sunitha, the police registered a theft case under Section 379 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and took up investigation.

This is the second such incident in the park. In 2001 too, miscreants entered the park and stole sandalwood trees in a similar manner. However, it remained a mystery as none was arrested till date.