The Andhra Pradesh Forest Department on Wednesday seized 23 red sander logs and also caught one smuggler in Tirupati.
Officials did not disclose the worth of the red sanders seized or details about the detained smuggler.
Speaking to TNM, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Tirupati, Phani Kumar, said that the incident took place early morning at 4am, when the forest officials were keeping vigil.
“On noticing us, they [smugglers] pelted stones at us. In self-defence, we had to fire in the air. Scared of the firing, they fled the scene leaving the felled red sanders behind. However, one of the smugglers failed to escape and we rounded him up,” the DFO said.
When asked if the smugglers were armed, the DFO confirmed they were not.
“The smugglers belonged to Tamil Nadu. We cannot divulge details of the nabbed smuggler. We will produce him in court today,” he said.
In 2015, a huge controversy had broken out when AP forest officials gunned down 20 smugglers from Tamil Nadu in an alleged encounter in the Seshachalam forest, Tirupati.
This was condemned as a Human Rights violation and even a commission was set up to probe the incident.
Recently, last month, AT Maideen believed to be the international kingpin of red sanders, was arrested by the Kadapa police.
Police seized 1.10 tonnes of red sander logs, along with two luxury cars, two sedans and a pickup van worth Rs 1.23 crore.