Sharmili Mallick

Forest Department personnel nabbed four policemen while they were illegally transporting teak wood in a police van near the Forest Gate under Paralakhemundi Forest Division in  Gajapati district on Wednesday.

The four policemen have been identified as Bharat Mahakud, Yasavanta Acharya, Chinmay Behera and the driver of the van Sridhar Mohapatra who are Jawans in the Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP) 3rd Battalion. They are presently questioned.

The police van, bearing registration number OD-05 AK 5733, which belongs to the Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP) 3rd Battalion, has been confiscated.

As per reports, the Forest officials intercepted the police van during checking near the Forest Gate on Wednesday morning. The van was on its way to Bhubaneswar from Paralakhemundi.

During searches, they found around 100 teakwood logs in the van. With no documents to support the source or ownership of the wood, the accused were detained for questioning.

“On searching the police vehicle, we found woods loaded in the vehicle. We took the vehicle to the Division office and unloaded the logs. The market value of the 100 teakwood logs found in the vehicle is estimated to be between Rs 60,000 to Rs 65,000,” informed ACF Gouri Prasad Rath.

The driver of the police van, Sridhar Mohapatra said, “I had bought the logs from Gandahati village and was taking it to my house in Puri for making doors and windows. I didn’t know it was illegal to carry the logs in the police van. I own the logs and my three colleagues happened to be accompanying me to their house while on leave,” he added.