A group of miscreants set parts of the Tannirbhavi tree park in Mangaluru on fire, causing an estimated loss of Rs 6 lakh.
The park was set up in March last year as a special initiative of the Forest Department in an area of 15 hectares near the Tannirbhavi beach to conserving the biodiversity.
At 6 am on Wednesday, the forest department personnel spotted the fire and quickly alerted the Fire and Emergency Services personnel, who then doused the fire.
Panambur police is investigating the case based on a complaint filed by the Forest Range Officer.
According to Lokesh, the police inspector, the act is done by intruders who are yet to be identified. The reception area of the tree park was set on fire, as a result of which, furniture, library, cupboards and fans were gutted.
In the absence of CCTV footage, the police have no other choice but to rely on statements from the locals.
"A forensic team visited the spot yesterday (Thursday) and have collected samples. Although we suspect the miscreants poured some inflammable liquid like kerosene before setting the park on fire, that can be verified only after the forensic report comes. It will take not less than a week for the reports to come. By then, we are making enquiries among the locals to get a lead," the inspector told The News Minute.
Deputy Conservator of Forests K.T. Hanumantappa told The Hindu that a staff spotted the fire at 6 am. He said that the miscreants must have entered the park when the officials were away to rescue a 19-year-old who had entered the sea.