Hyderabad: A group of red sander smugglers attacked a police team with stones in Mamanduru forests in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh prompting them to fire in the air.
Red sanders worth Rs 2 crore was seized from their possession.
The incident occurred near Chandragiri town when a police team, acting on information that red sanders was being smuggled out from the forest area, launched search operation.
After noticing the police personnel the smugglers started pelting stones on the cops who opened two rounds of fire in the air in self-defence, a senior police officer told PTI over phone from Chittoor.
"Around 200 red sander woodcutters/smugglers were loading logs in a lorry. After the incident they ran away while 10 of them were caught by police and over 200 red sanders logs worth Rs 2 crore was seized from them," the police officer said, adding a hunt is on to nab the absconding persons, mostly belonging to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
Yesterday, special combing parties opened fire at red sander smugglers in the Seshachalam forests of Chittoor district after they hurled stones on the police personnel.
This is the third such incident of police firing after the May 23 firing incident in Chittoor district after a group of around 50 smugglers attacked a police party with axes while they were on a combing operation in Seshachalam forest under Bhakarapet police station limits.
Red sanders grow mainly in the Seshachalam hill ranges spread across Kadapa, Chittoor and Kurnool in the Rayalaseema region and parts of Nellore district in the state.
The wood has huge demand abroad, especially in China and Japan, where it commands a good price.