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Sharmili Mallick

The Charmal Police on Wednesday booked six Kendu leaf smugglers and detained another for allegedly attacking the Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) of Rairakhol Forest Division and members of his team near Gargadbahal village in Sambalpur district on Tuesday night.

As per reports, ACF Debiprasad Rout along with his team rushed to investigate upon receiving information about the illegal transportation of huge quantity of Kendu leaves in the forests under the Charmal police station jurisdiction.

However, while returning six persons, suspected to be Kendu leaf smugglers, stopped the patrolling vehicle and threatened the ACF after pulling out sharp weapons.

In the meantime, a pick-up van carrying smuggled Kendu leaves hit the officer’s vehicle from the side and fled the spot.

“After receiving lead from a reliable source regarding the smuggling of Kendu leaves, a team of forest staff reached the spot for investigation. However, they were intercepted and threatened by the smugglers. On hearing this, I immediately rushed to the spot and managed to bring back the team,” informed the ACF.

Rout further said, “When we were returning to office, my vehicle was stopped mid-way near Gargadbahal village by six persons. They issued me life threats and a vehicle loaded with Kendu leaves hit the patrolling van from the side and fled the spot. The driver has received minor injuries in the incident,” the ACF added.

Following the incident, ACF Debiprasad Rout lodged an FIR with the Charmal Police. 

“Based on the FIR filed by the Rairakhol ACF, a case has been registered against six persons. We have also detained a vehicle and its driver. The vehicle is the one which collided with the ACF’s patrolling van yesterday. Further investigation is underway and appropriate action will be taken against the attackers,” said Rairakhol Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Prashant Kumar Meher.

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