By Lawrence Milton
CHAMARAJANAGAR / Mysore: Two members of a gang of seven which killed a tusker and removed its tusks were arrested in Chamarajanagar on Monday.
Chamarajanagar SP P Rajendra Prasad said the modus operandi was similar to that of forest brigand Veerappan. "Nearly a decade after Veerappan was gunned down, we have encountered a case in which miscreants shot dead a tusker and took away its tusks. We arrested two men and are hunting for others."
The case was transferred to the Chamarajanagar East police station on January 23, a week after the killing. Officials of the Punajanur forest, a segment of the Biligiriranga Tiger Reserve, found the carcass of a tusker near the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border on January 19.
Arrested man gave clues to killing
The Chamarajanagar SP said three teams have been formed, to work along with forest officials, to track down the killers of the tusker.
Bedegowda, a tribal, was picked up on suspicion. After two days of questioning, the tribal admitted to killing the tusker and gave cops some clues about his associates. Another person, Mahadeva, was arrested. Following his arrest, the tusks were recovered from the residence of Swamynayaka, who is absconding.
A muzzle-loading rifle was recovered from Bedegowda, a sharp-shooter.
A cop pointed out that Veerappan had killed over 500 elephants over two decades and had removed their tusks in the forests of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.