Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bargarh/Gaislet/Ghens, Oct 20:
In an incident that has sent shock waves through the forest department, members of the timber mafia ran over and crushed to death a forester and injured another forest official in the Ghens forest division early on Sunday morning when they tried to stop their vehicle carrying illegal timber.
Forester Ashwini Kumar Mohanty (57) was declared brought dead by the doctors on his arrival at the district headquarters hospital in Bargarh. Radheshyam Bhue, the forest official injured in the incident, is undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Acting on a tip off at around 7 am in the morning on Sunday that a Tata Ace vehicle was carrying smuggled wooden planks from Kujamunda village in Laumunda area under Bijepur police limits, forester Ashwini Kumar Mohanty and his team chased the vehicle and made several attempts to stop it on the Laumunda-Khalabahal road. But the vehicle managed to give the chasing team a slip.
After chasing the timber laden vehicle for quite some time, forester Mohanty managed to move ahead of the fleeing vehicle and tried to stop it from the front near Khalabahal village under Gaislet police limits. Instead of stopping the vehicle, the driver of the vehicle, however, sped off crushing Mohanty under the wheels. Mohanty was seriously injured in the incident while the vehicle managed to escape.
Mohanty was rescued by other forest officials and taken to the district headquarters hospital at Bargarh where he was declared brought dead. Forest department officials then informed the Melchamunda police station about the incident. A murder case bearing no. 65/14 has been registered at the Melchamunda police station based on the complaint of forest department official Subodh Sahu.
Melchamunda police has registered a murder case against Chaitanya Sahu, the proprietor of a saw mill at Kujamunda village and the owner of the truck that mowed down forester Mohanty. It has also seized the timber laden vehicle and kept it at the police station premises.
Mohanty’s body was taken in a procession from Bhatli to his native village at Gangei village under Ambabhona police limits. The procession was joined by Forest range officers of Nursinghnath, Bhatli, Ghens, Padmapur, Bargarh and Ambabhona ranges and Forest officials of Bargarh district. Mohanty’s only son Anil lit his father’s funeral pyre.