A man, arrested on charge of timber smuggling, died after he fell from a vehicle while being taken by forest officials triggering protest by villagers in Ganjam district on Tuesday.
Forest officials, however, said Ladu Gouda along with two others were picked up for alleged smuggling of timber in Tiliki reserve forest and died as he jumped from the vehicle while being taken from Tiliki forests to Bhanjanagar, about 80 km from Behrampur, to be produced in court.
However, since the person died in their custody, the matter would be inquired by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and accordingly the government would take action against the guilty, the officials said.
Meanwhile, alleging the villager died after being pushed by forest officials from a speeding vehicle, the residents of Chakundapalli village blocked road in the outskirts of the sub divisional headquarters, disrupting road traffic between Berhampur and Phulbani for about six hours.
Divisional Forest Officer Ghumusar (North) B B Behera said "we have arranged Rs 15,000 for the funeral expense of the deceased."