Published On : Wed, Jun 22nd, 2022

Two sandalwood trees chopped, stolen from high-security Raj Bhawan in Nagpur

Nagpur: In an incident raising question marks on policing in the Second Capital of the State, some miscreants in a most daring attempt chopped off two full-grown sandalwood trees and stole from the high-security Raj Bhavan campus on Sunday.

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Raj Bhavan, the residence of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, is a lush green premises and is in fact more of a semi-jungle in the urban landscape. It is just impossible for outsiders to enter the premises without permission. Therefore, the act of unidentified persons in carrying out the heist at a place like Raj Bhawan has raised eyebrows in the security establishment.

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According to Sadar police, the theft came to fore on Monday morning when a gardener noticed the stumps of the sandalwood trees. He immediately informed the matter to Ramesh Yeole, In-charge, Raj Bhawan, in the city. Yeole immediately briefed his superiors in Mumbai about the sensitive matter and as per their advice drove down to adjoining Sadar Police Station and lodged an FIR.

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The report of theft at Raj Bhawan rang alarm bells in the city police administration. Entire top brass made a dash to the spot in the sprawling campus for spot inspection. A team of the police station in the meantime rushed to the spot and cops performed spot panchnama and took pictures. An offence under Section 379 of Indian Penal Code was registered by the police.

According to police, the case was being investigated from all angles as the incident is a challenge for the police force. Cops are checking CCTV footage from the nearby areas and also activated informers. Cops hoped to get a clue about the thieves who pulled off the daring heist.

This is reportedly the second incident of sandalwood tree theft at Nagpur city in the past one year. Earlier, a sandalwood tree was found chopped from the official residence of a Deputy Commissioner of Police rank official in Civil Lines last year. The said tree was in the compound of the officer’s quarter from where it was chopped by the thieves. The theft had also caused embarrassment to the city police, though later the force hunted down the accused and locked him behind the bars to prove their point.

Apart from the Governor, the Raj Bhawan also hosts the President, the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker and other high ranking government officials during their visits to Nagpur. The theft of sandalwood tree from Raj Bhawan campus in fact exposes the chinks in the security cordon of the most high profile address of city.

Sources said the thieves most probably might have gained access to the garden area where the sandalwood trees are located from the rear of the Raj Bhawan, which opens up towards Sadar area. However, it’s still a puzzle as to how the thieves come to know about the presence of sandalwood trees. Sandalwood comes under Schedule 3 category and illicit felling and smuggling of sandalwood is punishable with imprisonment.

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