Three arrested with 1,556 kg red sanders

Consignment was to be illegally exported to China via Goa

The Mumbai Police Crime Branch seized 1,556 kg of red sanders worth ₹7.5 crore on Tuesday morning. The Crime Branch officers arrested three men who were allegedly illegally exporting the consignment to Goa.

A Unit IX team made the seizure on the basis of a tip-off received by police inspector Sanjiv Gawde. The Unit IX team under the supervision of police inspector Mahesh Desai laid a trap in collaboration with officers of the forest department. The officers then intercepted two tempos in Santacruz.

A Crime Branch officer said, “The tempos contained large boxes. We did a random search and opened a few boxes. We found huge uncut logs of red sanders, each weighing between 30 kg and 45 kg. We seized both the trucks and arrested the three men.”

The officer said the logs were wrapped in plastic sheets and placed in blocks of thermocol. The officer said, “The accused claimed that they were transporting oakwood. The consignment was sourced from Chennai and they drove it all the way to Mumbai. The accused said during interrogation that the consignment’s final destination in India was Goa, from where it was to be illegally exported to China.”

Red sanders is a controlled substance in India and its export is strictly regulated by the forest department. Officials said that the demand for red sanders is massive in China, which is said to be the highest importer of red sanders, both legally and illegally. Red sanders is used in the manufacture of high quality furniture and artefacts.

The officer said, “The racket seems to be an international one. While some modules worked on procuring the red sanders from south India, the others coordinated transporting and exporting it. A few others were based in China and would receive the consignments.”

The officer added, “We are now working on identifying other players involved in the racket. The sheer quantity of the red sanders seized indicates that the accused are habitual offenders and have a well-organised system for smuggling it.”

The Crime Branch officials said that the accused have been identified as Asgar Shaikh (49), Ali Shaikh (32) and Wajid Ansari (32). They will be produced in court on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 6:07:56 PM |

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