SIX sandalwood trees on the campus of National Institute of Banking Management (NIBM) were cut down and stolen by an unidentified gang amid tight security on Thursday morning.
According to police, the trees aged between three and five years were chopped between 1 am and 6 am by unidentified men. The price of the sandalwood tree is estimated to be Rs 9,000.
Uttam Tarkase (29), a resident of Mohammadwadi, who works as a security guard on the campus, has registered an offence in this case. The theft came to light on January 8, Friday, after the security guard of the campus reported to work.
“We are trying to zero-in on some groups who were involved in similar crimes in the past. Such an offence is rare and we suspect that someone who is a frequent visitor to the campus is directly or indirectly involved in the crime. The trees at the campus seem to have grown naturally. The trees were young hence, the estimated price is minimal,” said police havaldar S M Surve who is investigating the case. Surve said that the thieves must have kept a watch for many days before committing the crime. They chose the time slot when they could have executed the crime without attracting attention, he added.
“There is a hostel close by where students stay awake. The students also go for walks until late night. The only time the thieves could have done this is between 2 am and 5 am,” said Surve.
The unidentified persons have been booked under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code with Kondhwa police station.