When the farmers refused to part with the money, Anbalagan, 55, a Range Officer in Attur Forest Division and forester Gokul had also allegedly issued death threats to them. Trouble began after a few farmers dug a pit along the forest area in Ramanaickenpalayam in Attur Forest Range.
On coming to know of the violation, Anbalagan and the forester had visited the spot and held an inquiry with the farmers. The farmers were warned of penalty and legal action for digging a pit along the forest area.
Thereafter, sometime later, the forest official took up the issue again and asked for a bribe to avoid further action. A quarrel broke out over the issue between him and some farmers in the neighbourhood.
An irate Anbalagan had then issued death threats to the farmers. Following this, the farmers lodged a complaint with Salem District Forest Officer R Murugan seeking action against the range officer and the forester for their high handed behavior.
After an inquiry, the DFO submitted a report on the issue to A Periyasamy, Conservator of Forest, Salem Circle. Following this Periyasamy placed the official and the forester under suspension.