Tirumala Ghat Under Scrutiny: Illegal Red Sandalwood Movement Sparks Investigation

Honey Gupta
3 Min Read

Concerns arose when it was discovered that the police did not file a case, even though a vehicle illegally transporting red sandalwood was apprehended on the Tirumala Ghat road. On Wednesday night, around 11 pm, a car was speeding along the First Ghat road and approached the travel time registration center in Alipiri. Staff at the center found red sandalwood logs in the vehicle and immediately informed the police. The police detained the driver and moved the vehicle to Alipiri Police Station. However, by 8 am the next morning, the vehicle with red sandalwood in front of the police station was relocated without clear instructions. BJP State Spokesperson Bhanuprakash Reddy and media representatives recorded videos of the vehicle in the morning, but by 6 pm, the vehicle mysteriously disappeared.

Illegal Red Sandalwood Movement Sparks Investigation

There seemed to be a lack of urgency on the part of the police, and details about the person in custody were not disclosed. Even after 20 hours, no case had been officially registered. The Alipiri police claimed the case was not under their jurisdiction, leaving uncertainty about which police division was responsible.

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Update: Alipiri Police finally confirmed on Thursday night that they had registered a case against the individual, identified as Raja Venkatesan (30) from Tirupur, Tamil Nadu, who was caught transporting red sandalwood.

Illegal Red Sandalwood Movement Sparks Investigation

Questions are now arising about how the red sandalwood logs ended up in the gorge. The illegal transportation of red sandalwood through various routes in the remaining forest area has been an ongoing issue. It remains unclear how the logs were loaded into the vehicle on the Tirumala pass road and then diverted to the ghat road. Despite the presence of red sandalwood near the Tirumala Ghat road, forest and task force officials did not find any evidence of logs being cut. There are suspicions that adults involved are not providing information about the incident, raising doubts about whether similar incidents occurred in the past. The smuggling of red sandalwood has increased significantly near Ghat Road since Vaikapa came to power, with claims that wild animals in the Seshachal forest area are emerging and posing a threat to devotees.

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