THE CITY police have arrested three persons in connection with the recent theft of sandalwood from the Police Headquarters (PHQ) and another places — including a senior police officiall’s residence in 74 Bungalows locality.
The stolen sandalwood has been recovered from their possession.
Besides, the police claimed to have identified the sandalwood thieves who largely inhabit Dhamakheda, Junapani, Ujarkheda, Khokhir, Konajhir and Sarbatipura villages.
Police have found that the stolen sandalwood was sent to as far as Kannauj and Kanpur through middlemen who supplied it to factories manufacturing ‘itr’ and incense sticks.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, SP Anant Kumar Singh said that three persons including Sattar, Ballu and Shabbir have been arrested. The hunt for the co-accused is on.
Sattar was involved in the theft of sandalwood from PHQ. At night, the gang had sneaked inside the PHQ from the backside and cut the tree with a long and sharp saw.
Apart from Sattar, the other gang members include Mausam, Yusuf and Dawood, all residents of Junapani (Sehore). Ballu, a resident of Bhim Nagar here, and Shabbir have been arrested in connection with the theft at a senior police official’s house in 74 Bungalows locality.
Besides, Sattar, Ballu and Shabbir had also cut sandalwood from the residence of Prahlad Sharma in 45 Bungalows though they could not take the wood away then.
Police say the gangs are aware of the sandalwood trees in Bhopal and though there is no jungle, lot of solitary trees are found in the capital city. The thieves drilled the standing tree to check its value and would cut only the tree that was at least a decade old.
The gang would sell it at a rate of Rs 1000 per kg though its price went up manifold when it reached other cities. In view of the spate in thefts, a special squad was constituted to look into the matter. The thieves told police that they had even identified the sandalwood in graveyards and were waiting for these trees to attain the full growth for chopping them off.