Cops seize 12K kg of red sanders wood, arrest five

Cops seize 12K kg of red sanders wood, arrest five

The CCB police have arrested five persons, in different cases, and seized Red Sanders wood weighing 12,138 kg worth Rs 9.71 crore in the local illegal market and Rs 36.41 crore in the international market.

The police nabbed members of two gangs who were trying to smuggle the wood. The police, disguised as smugglers, met the suspects.

During the meeting, the police collected valuable information about two gangs operating in and around Bengaluru. One gang is led by Abdul Rehman, of Sira taluk in Tumakuru district, and another gang by suspects hailing from Mangaluru and Kattigenahalli village of Hosakote taluk.

The gangs used to purchase Red Sanders from operators in Chittoor, Tirupathi and Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh at Rs 2,000 per kg and transport it to godowns in rural areas. Rehman, who owns ‘Shivaraj Beedi Company,’ used to transport the smuggled wood from T Narasipura in Mysuru district to other places.

The smugglers used to sell the Red Sanders to other local gangs for Rs 8,000 per kg. These local gangs, in turn, used to transport and sell the wood to international smugglers at Rs 30,000 per kg through mediators in Mumbai, Mangaluru, Delhi and Chennai. These gangs smuggled the wood to China and Japan at international prices, said police.

On December 14, police intercepted a vehicle in Kengeri police limits, arrested Rehman and seized 73 logs of Red Sanders (2,205 kg). During interrogation, he gave details of the godown in Kodigehalli where the logs were stored. At the godown, police arrested Lokesh alias Kumar, 35, owner of godown and Haneef, 44, of Bantwal. The police seized 104 logs of Red Sanders (3,110 kg).

On December 19, the police arrested a second gang from Jalahalli Cross under Peenya police limits, which was transporting Red Sanders wood in a lorry from a godown in Kattigenahalli to Mangaluru.

The arrested are Pol Singh, 40, a native of Haryana, Syed Mubarak, 28 and Sheikh Shadar, 24, both residents of Hosakote. They seized 125 logs (3,616 kg) from the vehicle and also the car used for escorting the vehicle. The smugglers had stored more logs in a godown in Kattigenahalli. The police went to the godown and seized 115 logs.

Hemanth Nimbalkar, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), said, “These logs are moulded into tables, cupboards and jewel boxes and painted white. This is done to mislead the police. Once these items reach the desired place, they are dismantled and used for various purposes. We have got leads about a man from China, the kingpin. More arrests will follow.”

The Forest department's city mobile squad recently seized 3,893 kg of Red Sanders from a vehicle in Hosakote.

What is Red Sanders?

The Red Sander is a rare species of tree (also known as Red Sanders and Red Sandalwood). It is found in Andhra Pradesh and has huge demand abroad. The wood is used for medicinal purposes, making musical instruments, furniture, ornaments and to absorb radiation in nuclear reactors. It was listed as endangered species.  The Centre has banned its felling or transporting.

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