'Red sanders smugglers have links with Maoists'

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has found evidence showing that part of the income from red sanders smuggled out of Kochi’s Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) is reaching Maoists.

The agency has found that red sanders grown in the Maoists-infested regions of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha are being smuggled out of the country through the ICTT.

“The smugglers must be hand in glove with the extremists. They cannot even enter the forest without such a nexus, let alone felling the trees,” confided a senior DRI official.

The agency is yet to establish clearly if proceeds from the smuggling operations are reaching the Maoists as cash or kind, but suspects that the international operation must be fetching the rebels sophisticated arms and ammunitions.

“It adds credence to our fear that the port is being used by ultras for smuggling. The total insulation for revenue and security agencies’ check inside the terminal helps them to carry out their business safely,” he said.

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