Hyderabad, May 29 :
Police Thursday gunned down three red sander smugglers in the forests near Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district, bordering Tamil Nadu.
The incident occurred after a team of police and forest officials came under attack by smugglers in Silathoranam forests. Some police and forest personnel were injured in the attack. Three smugglers were killed when the police opened fire.
According to police, about 80 smugglers were involved in the attack. Senior police officials have rushed to the forests and the authorities have launched a search operation for those who escaped.
Two forest officials were killed and three were injured in the attack by the red sander smugglers in Seshachalam forests of the same district in December last year.
Over 3,000 smugglers were arrested and 2,025 tonnes of red sander was seized last year. Most of the arrests were made in Chittoor district and surrounding districts, famous for red sander.
The rare wood, which fetches Rs.25 lakh per tonne in the international market, is mainly used in aphrodisiac drugs and for making musical instruments and furniture.