Bangalore, December 19: A sandalwood tree at the Lalbagh Botanical Garden in Bangalore was felled and stolen. The incident came to light on Thursday morning.
The 15-year-old tree was right in front of the Horticulture Director’s office near the main gate of Lalbagh.
Personnel from the nearby police outpost and the security guards at the main gate that is close to the spot of crime alerted the Lalbagh authorities about the missing sandalwood tree. A complaint was filed at the Siddapur police station.
Deputy Director of Lalbagh Botanical Garden J. Gunavanth said that the security guards on the Lalbagh premises came to know about the theft only in the morning. “There is one guard who goes on the rounds while another guard sits near the director’s office to keep watch. When we questioned them, they said they were clueless about the theft,” he added.
Following the theft, the authorities are trying to put in place security measures in the premises.
“We were planning to install CCTV cameras on the Lalbagh premises but as the tenders have to be called, the process will take quite a while. We will install CCTV cameras at Lalbagh as soon as possible,” Mr. Gunavanth said.
Mr. Gunavanth said that they have called for tenders for security guards to be deployed by next month. At present, home guards are deployed on the Lalbagh premises.
A similar attempt of theft was made to fell and take away a 50-year-old sandalwood tree on the Lalbagh premises near M.H. Marigowda public library on November 29.
Three branches of the tree had been cut by miscreants but they fled when they sensed that some one was coming their way leaving behind sandalwood logs worth lakhs of rupees. The sandalwood logs were then handed over to the Forest Department and a complaint had been lodged at the Siddapur police station.
The Siddapur police suspect insider involvement in the crimes. “It is not so easy to go inside the Lalbagh premises and carry away the felled sandalwood tree. We are investigating whether anyone within the premises was involved,” an official said, adding that security measures had not been heightened after the November 29 incident. If it was done, may be the second theft could have been prevented.