Smugglers received 100 kg of sandalwood a day: Police

Smugglers received 100 kg of sandalwood a day: Police

Seized weighing scale, number plates and nine kilogram of sandalwood in police custody.

The police, who raided Kattigenahalli village in Hoskote and busted a sandalwood smuggling ring after arresting two notorious smugglers, found a notebook where the duo maintained a list and mobile numbers of men from whom they received sandalwood in kilograms.

“In a given week, at least for four days, the duo received 100 kg per day of sandalwood from random men and this has been continuing since 2010 according to the lists they have maintained,” D Devaraju, DCP Central division, said.

The duo then used to sell the sandalwood to oil and soap companies based in Tumakuru and Chikkamagaluru. “We have taken up this case under appropriate sections of Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA), and we will also prosecute the companies dealing with these smugglers. We also came to know of a global multi-level marketing corporation which has demanded 500 tonnes of red sanders from this village. We have summoned the company representative,” Devaraju told DH.

However, one notorious smuggler Chand Pasha remained elusive during the raid and the Whitefield division police picked up his son for questioning to ascertain his whereabouts.

“Apart from a few women who protested, none came out to attack the police fearing getting shot at from the terrace,” a senior police officer said. The protesting women were pacified by the women constables.

Narrow escape

The wedding of Sher Ali, the son of Riyaz, the sandalwood smuggler who was arrested on Saturday, was fixed on December 23, 2018, at Gudibande around 82 km from Hoskote. However, the father-son duo learnt that the police had plans to trap and arrest them a couple of days before Sher Ali’s wedding.

Their information was right when they saw a police team chasing them in a car following their car while they were near their village. Riyaz cancelled his wedding at Gudibande and the ‘nikah’ was conducted in front of his house inside his village where they felt secure, the police said.

The gang’s modus operandi

Bengaluru: The Cubbon Park police, investigating the stolen sandalwood tree from the Bishop Cotton Girls School on St Mark’s Road, stumbled on a gang run by two brothers in Bagalur and arrested them recently. The arrested were Imdad (26) and Mujahid Ullah (24) — the brothers and three others. After interrogating the five, the police learnt that the gang in Bagalur hired men from Yercaud in Tamil Nadu and paid them Rs 15,000 each for reconnoitring the city, cutting trees and transporting them to Bagalur. They were provided accommodation and other logistics like vehicles, the police said. The accused had over a dozen fake number plates which they used after spotting cars of the make on OLX, the police said.

They used such cars for committing the offence. After the recent attack on three police sub-inspectors, the city police planned a detailed operation to bust the gang.