Gang of sandalwood thieves are Arrested in Bengaluru

“The accused was reportedly involved in over 50 sandalwood theft cases over the past few years.”
Gang of sandalwood thieves are Arrested in Bengaluru

A gang of sandalwood thieves, which managed to chop off sandalwood trees from the premises of Embassy apartments and high-security areas such as Chief Justice's official residence, All India Radio Prasara Bharathi office and ministers' quarters, was finally caught by the Cubbon Park Police early Tuesday.

While the accused were being brought to the police station, one of them jumped off the police vehicle and tried to escape into the Cubbon Park. He was shot at in his leg, police said.

The police achieved a breakthrough while investigating a theft case.  They nabbed Lakshmana (32), Raghunathan (35) and Ramaswamy (40), all hailing from Salem, who was employed by one Mujahidullah of Saraipalya.  Mujahidullah and his brother Imdad were involved in 19 sandalwood theft cases in and around the city since 2015.

The accused had hired this group and provided them training on how to use the chainsaw to chop trees in minutes and transport it, the police said. The accused used to move around the city to identify sandalwood trees along with the gang members. Based on the information provided by those arrested, the police picked up Mujahidullah and Imdad from a house in Chikkaballapura, where they used to hide after committing thefts.

Police said that while Mujahidullah was being brought to the station around 1.30 am, he jumped from the jeep near Cubbon Park and tried to flee. Police sub-inspector Raheem chased Mujahidullah, but in a bid to escape he attacked Raheem and the duo got involved in a brief fisticuff.

Inspector Ayyanna Reddy, who followed Mujahidullah warned him and fired a shot the air before shooting at his right leg to immobilize him.

The accused was later shifted to Bowring Hospital for treatment and the police have taken up the case for further investigations. "The accused was reportedly involved in over 50 sandalwood theft cases over the past few years," said D. Devraj, DCP (Central).

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