Bengaluru: 2 sandalwood trees stolen from minister’s high-security quarters

Bengaluru: In what can be seen as a glaring security lapse, unidentified miscreants cut down two sandalwood trees from the high security Seven Minister's quarters on Sankey Road in High Grounds Police station limits on Monday night.

The incident took place at Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge’s official quarter (number 6), near Shivananda Circle. The minister was allotted the quarter recently and is yet to occupy it.

Police said the unidentified miscreants chopped two trees, both nearly 30 years old, left behind the branches and decamped with the trunk.

The High Ground police have registered a case and formed a team to nab the accused. They are verifying the CCTV footage to establish their identity.

The theft came to light while police were patrolling the area came across the left over stumps and other remnants. Investigations reveal that there were more than three thieves.

They had allegedly kept a close watch of the area and carried out the theft after ensuring that the security guard was absent, said a police official.

He further added that is only one security guard to guard the quarter as no one was residing in it. On Monday morning when he was not around, the miscreants sneaked into the compound and carried out the theft.

Police suspect that people who work in these quarters may have a role in the crime. "We suspect that the accused might have gained entry posing as construction workers. The police have summoned them for questioning," the officer said.

This quarter was earlier allocated to former minister T.B. Jayachandra. Mr Kharge has not moved in yet as renovation work is in progress.

The adjacent quarters are occupied by Ministers Ramesh Jarkiholi and Bandeppa Kashempur, and high court judge Justice S.N. Sathyanarayana. The police have deployed more guards in the Seven Minister's quarters.

Sandalwood thefts in the city have been happening regularly and in many cases they take place in high security areas such as army camps and other government establishments. 

The thieves often hoodwink security personnel to carry out the crime.

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