Sandalwood looted from forest office

Lalitpur, November 13:

An unidentified armed group looted about 11 tonnes of red sandalwood from the District Forest Office, Lalitpur, last midnight. This is the first time that such a huge amount of goods was looted from a government office.

According to police, a group of 10-12 armed persons broke into the office and overpowered two security guards and a diver of the office. “They are learnt to have come with a huge truck and loaded the sandalwood within half an hour and drove away towards Satdobato,” Assistant District Forest Officer Nabin Giri said.

The red sandalwood was stored within the office compound. “They broke the padlocks and took away the sandalwood,” he added.

About ten tonnes and plus sandalwood were seized from a house at Imadol last May and about 400 kgs of sandalwood were seized from Pathlaiya, Bara.

The Metropolitan Police Range, Lalitpur, has taken two security guards, including Purna Bahadur Thakuri and driver Ram Krishna Maharjan, into custody for investigation.

According to the Forest Department, more than 200 tonnes of sandalwood has been kept in district forest offices across the country.

Meanwhile, an RSS report from Chautara said six tonnes of red sandalwood loaded in two vehicles bearing diplomatic number plate was confiscated as it was about to be smuggled across the border to Khasa of Tibet via the Tatopani customs in Sindhupalchowk. The vehicles with registration numbers 11 CD 38 and 11 CD 26 were vehicles used by the Chinese diplomatic mission.