The Crime Branch Unit 1, Vashi has seized the prohibited rakt chandan or red sandalwood worth Rs 40 lakh in Rabale. The driver and cleaner of the truck which was carrying the contraband have been arrested.
The seizure followed a tip-off to Senior police inspector Sanjay Kamble of the crime branch on Monday. He learnt that at around 4.30 pm the sandalwood wood pass from near Nocil Naka on Thane Belapur road at Rabale.
Kamble said: “I informed my seniors and following their instructions, along with my staff, forest officials and witnesses laid a trap in the area. At around 4.35 pm we stopped a truck (RJ 07 G 5305) on the road. On inquiry the driver and the cleaner informed that they had brought red sandalwood from Kolar in Karnataka.”
Added Kamble, “The inspection of the vehicle revealed that below the watermelons stocked in the truck were 275 logs of red sandalwood weighing eight tones and worth Rs 40 lakh.”
Apart from the consignment, the police have also seized the truck worth Rs 10 lakh. An official complaint has been lodged by the forest department in the matter at Rabale police station.
The police have arrested the driver of the truck Sanya Mutlib (25) a resident of Manipur and his accomplice Mohammed Sadiq Ansari (26) a resident of Tamil Nadu who is a hawker at a railway station in Tamil Nadu.
Informed Kamble, “We are interrogating the arrested accused to find out where the consignment came from, where they were headed, whom the consignment belonged to and who all are involved in the smuggling of the prohibited item.”