Red sandalwood seized
13 February 2017

India: The Central Crime Branch (CCB) police raided a wood workshop in Ramamurthy Nagar and seized 4.39 tonnes of red sanders worth nearly ₹8 crore on Sunday. While the owner of the shop has been arrested, the police are on the lookout for two businessmen who allegedly attempted to smuggle the wood.

According to police, based on a tip off, the CCB sleuths raided the shop and found 87 pieces of red sandalwood kept amidst the other logs. The police picked up the owner, Hasmukh, and during interrogation, he informed that two businessmen, Ravi and Srinivas, had given the wood to him. “We know that they are in Delhi . Only after arresting them will we know where they were planning to smuggle it to,” said a police officer.

Senior police officers said that Bengaluru is an important transit point for storing and smuggling red sanders to Mumbai or Chennai and then to China and Japan. A total of 21 cases were registered by the Bengaluru police from 2014 to 2016 pertaining to this.

“Usually red sanders are found in Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh and some parts of Kolar district in Karnataka. They are brought to Bengaluru by road by placing them amidst other local wood and later stored in some wood workshop. After this, they are taken to Mumbai or Chennai by road and shipped to Japan and China,” said a senior police officer.

He said that though checks are organised regularly, the smugglers get advance information about the checking and change routes. “The number of cases in the city has dropped however as our checks have intensified,” said an officer.

(Source: The Hindu)