By Chetan R.
Kollegal police arrest of three men with tusks and a rifle of the type the forest brigand favoured
The fear that gripped villages bordering Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over a new gang - the next generation of forest brigand Veerappan -- seems to be turning into reality, as Kollegal police arrested three persons including a sharp shooter and recovered two tusks and a muzzle-loading rifle on Tuesday.
The gang was arrested based on leads from other gang members in custody, the police said.
"Three have been arrested based on the leads we got while investigating a case we cracked early this month," Chennabasavanna S L, deputy superintendent of police, Kollegal told Bangalore Mirror. "They were trying to make fortune out of the tusks by selling it in Bangalore. However, after our raids based on the information, we arrested the accused, the arms in their possession and tusks. The probe is on."
One of the accused, Bommegowda, a resident of Yettegowdanadoddi near Kunajanur in Chamrajanagar district was arrested on Monday morning near Sattegala hand post. while he was trying to take the tusks to sell them. A muzzle-loader and ammunition used to poach elephants have been recovered from him. Interestingly, it is same type of gun that the late Veerappan used to shoot down elephants.
"It is said that the arrested Bommegowda was among those who were closely associated with dead forest brigand's gang. However his role or existence of a gang any after Veerappan's death in the forests are being ascertained and will be known during investigations. The investigation will also throw light on tusks, if they were from among elephants killed in recent days like the Veerappan's gang did," a forest department source told Bangalore Mirror.
All the accused have been booked under the provisions of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, Arms act and various IPC sections, the police said.
The arrested are said to have claimed that the elephant was killed three months ago in the forests of Tamil Nadu. The police suspect that it could be one of three deaths in recent days, where elephants were killed along interstate borders including two within a month along the 'D' (demarcation) line. They are probing the case to ascertain if a new, full-fledged gang like Veerappan's has taken birth. Three were killed in the last three months which included two in Hosur range and one in BRT tiger reserve.