Truck used to smuggle deodar; policemen acquitted
on april 22, the conservator of forests, Mandi district, ordered the confiscation of a police vehicle used to smuggle deodar wood seven years ago.
The police truck registered in the name of Mandi's superintendent of police (SP) was caught carrying 50 logs of deodar by the villagers of Samnosh in Nachan forest division on May 6, 2002. Policemen including station house officer, Gohar Lal Singh, were travelling in the truck. The villagers waylaid the truck and alerted forest department officials who confiscated the timber and the vehicle.
The divisional forest officer (dfo) released the vehicle after the police furnished a bond of Rs 2.51 lakh. He also initiated proceedings for confiscating the vehicle under the provisions of the Indian Forest Act.During the proceedings, 11 witnesses testified in favour of the forest department and one in favour of the police. The dfo on May 22, 2002, concluded the vehicle was being used to transport forest property without valid documents and hence the vehicle was to be confiscated. Repeated reminders to the SP to surrender the vehicle, however, proved futile.
The SP then challenged the order before the senior forest official saying he had no knowledge of the vehicle being misused. The conservator of forests upheld the dfo's order. The legal advisor to police department said the confiscation order would be challenged in the sessions court.
The policemen who were in the vehicle were acquitted of smuggling charges by the trial court last year.
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