Main accused in Bannerghatta sandalwood smuggling case arrested

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Bangalore Rural Superintendent of Police Mallikarjun Baladindi at the scene of the shootout on Tuesday morning.

BENGALURU: A week after one sandalwood smuggler was shot dead in the Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) area, the Bannerghatta police have arrested the main accused from near Srinivasapura in Kolar district.

The arrested Gopal (48) hails from Netturahalli in Malur taluk and is a habitual offender. He had committed numerous thefts in Bannerghatta National Park area, police said.

The sandalwood trees chopped by the smugglers.

On August 30, Gopal, along with Thimmarayappa, had entered the Kalkere range of BNP and were trying to smuggle sandalwood when they were spotted by a Forest Department patrol team. They had tried to attack the team with sharp weapons following which one of the forest guards had opened fire, killing Thimmarayappa. However, Gopal had fled the scene.

The Forest Department had filed cases against Gopal for sandalwood smuggling in 2018 and 2020. He had been successful in smuggling sandalwood on five occasions, but ran out of luck.

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