A container of red sanders worth Rs 80 lakh was seized at the JNPT port on October 24. It is for the 16th time that the Central Intelligence Unit of Nhava-Sheva customs have seized a red sanders container brought from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to be smuggled to Dubai.
Two men, Deepak Jare and Yogesh Shederkar, have been arrested in connection with the case.
The officers of the unit received specific information on October 10 that a container was loaded with red sanders in a shipment marked as wheat flour. They were also informed that the smugglers had cheated a genuine exporter and his name was used to cover their activities.
KR Bhargav, chief commissioner of customs (zone II) said, “After getting the information, we laid a trap. Instead of raising an alarm, we allowed the ship — Express Annapurna — to sail and we contacted the regular exporter Poojan Enterprises of APMC Vashi.”
“Then we got to know that a person named Jare had approached the company for exporting wheat flour and given them advance money. With their assistance we nabbed Jare on October 8,” Bhargav said.
Informed Bhargav, “Deepak revealed that he had moved the truck to an unidentified secret warehousing location at Panvel on the pretext of a technical problem in the truck trailer. There, several wheat flour bags had been substituted with red sanders. The container was then sealed with a duplicate seal of Central Excise provided by one Yogesh Shederkar.”
The customs then arrested Shederkar. Meanwhile, the ship was called back. It arrived at Jawaharlal Nehru Port on October 24, following which the container was seized. The container was opened in front of the media on Thursday.
Ataur Rahman, additional commissioner of customs, central intelligence unit said, “Involving genuine exporters in their business is a new operandi by the smugglers to prevent seizures by customs at ports. Red sanders has a high value of Rs 600 per kg in the local market, and Rs 1,500 per kg in international market.”
“The export of red sanders is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna (CITES) to which India is a signatory,” he added. “Both the accused were produced before magistrate city civil and criminal court at Uran and later released on bail,” he concluded.