Three gunny bags containing 64 fresh billets of sandalwood were seized by the Ambalappuzha police from a car that lost control and crashed into a shop in the busy Purakad market early on Friday morning.
The occupants of the Ford Ikon car, which turned turtle, fled the scene after the accident occurred at around 9 a.m. Four people in the market were injured while an auto-rickshaw and a scooter parked nearby were damaged in the accident.
The sandalwood billets were discovered in the gunny bags hidden beneath the rear seat of the car when the police arrived around 10.30 a.m. and inspected the car. It was later found that the registration number plates were fake.
Those injured in the accident were shifted to the T.D. Medical College Hospital at Vandanam while the car and the contraband have been taken into custody by the police.
Forest Minister Binoy Viswam, who reached the Ambalappuzha Police Station following the incident, said stringent action would be taken against the sandalwood mafia which was operating in the State.
The Ambalappuzha police have registered a case and further investigation is on.