More than 55 tonne of red sandalwood was seized and two persons arrested on Saturday night. The Daighar police, who arrested the duo, say the sandalwood is worth Rs11.17 lakh in Indian market and around Rs44 lakh in international.
“We had received a tip-off that a truck carrying stolen red sandalwood would be passing through the Mumbra-Panvel road to Gujarat. We laid a trap and found the truck near Dahisarmori, which had four tonne of sandalwood hidden beneath the stacks of straw,” senior inspector DR Nalavade said.
The driver, Pappu Paswan, 23, and godown manager Devanand Singh, 26, have been arrested under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Indian Forests Act, 1927 for illegal possession, storage and transportation of red sandalwood, which is a banned commodity, he added.
While interrogating the accused, the police found that there was more sandalwood stored at a godown in Taloja, Navi Mumbai.
“We raided the godown at Rangarang compound and found 51 tonne and 890 kg of sandalwood there. We have seized the entire quantity and asked the forest officials to check its contents and value,” Nalavade said.
“The accused have no clue where the sandalwood was brought from so we suspect there are more people involved,” Nalavade added.
Police officials believe the sandalwoods were brought from Andhra Pradesh as the truck’s number plate is AP 12 U 5073. Also, the consignment was going to Gujarat, from where five tonne of red sandalwood was recently seized. Police are also on the look out for one Ashokbhai – suspected to be the mastermind and Raju alias Iliaz, the manager.