The Indo-Tibetan Border Police has suspended two of its officers arrested in a case of alleged smuggling along the Sino-Indian border in Himachal Pradesh.
ITBP Assistant Commandant Sukhdev Singh and Inspector Manmohan Singh, deployed along the border in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district, were arrested by police yesterday for allegedly letting off two trucks carrying the rare red sanders across the border.
The ITBP officers were deployed at a check post set up by the force along the border.
"The two officers have been suspended and an inquiry will be conducted against them," ITBP spokesperson Deepak Pandey said.
The ITBP is mandated to guard the 3,488 kilometre-long Sino-Indian frontier.
The force headquarters here has taken a serious view of the incident as it is for the first time that ITBP officers have been arrested on such criminal charges and it has decided to take "strict disciplinary action" against the duo.
"The headquarters is keeping track of the case. Strict disciplinary action will be taken in the case," Pandey said.
Yesterday in Kinnaur, a police team intercepted two trucks loaded with 150 quintals of the precious wood and impounded it while the vehicles were headed towards Kaurik, the last point along the Indo-Tibet border.
Lahaul and Spiti Superintendent of Police S R Rana had said that the two officers were arrested for their alleged involved in smuggling. He had also said that the Assistant Commandant had issued permit for ferrying labourers to Kaurik and Lapchha in the areas and these trucks were being used for smuggling the rare wood.
The ITBP officials, affiliated to the 2nd battalion of the force, have been charged under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, including forgery.
The red sanders is a precious wood grown in south Indian states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and is smuggled for foreign markets like those of Singapore and China, for making different wood items.