Timely intervention by officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Chennai, led to the seizure of 22 tonnes of red sanders logs that were about to be smuggled to Malaysia from the Chennai Port on Tuesday.

Two persons were arrested. The seized woods were valued at Rs.2.30 crore.

C. Rajan, Additional Director General, DRI, Chennai, said that on receiving a tip-off that a gang was attempting to smuggle red sanders, they had tightened vigil. The container was traced to a freight station at Sathangadu near Manali on the city's outskirts.

In the export documents, the description of the goods stuffed was mentioned as 435 bags of ragi, weighing 21,750 kg. In follow-up action, the DRI secured B. Ravi of Shastri Nagar, Adyar, and P. Mohanarangam of Uthiramerur in Kancheepuram district. Both admitted to their involvement in the smuggling.

Explaining how the ragi was removed and replaced with red sanders logs, Mr. Rajan said that the container with ragi was brought to a freight station at Numbal and shown to Customs officials. After the documents were endorsed, the Customs officials sealed it.

Instead of taking the container to the harbour, the gang took the vehicle to the godown where they removed the rivets of the door without damaging the Customs seal. The ragi bags were removed and replaced with red sanders logs. Mr. Rajan said that in another case, DRI officials recalled from Malaysia a container sent from Ludhiana.

The consignment was declared as ceramic insulators and when it was checked, six tonnes of red sanders logs felled from Andhra Pradesh forests were found. They were taken by road to Ludhiana from where it was exported. Mr. Rajan said that the logs were valued at Rs.60 lakh.