Sandalwood worth over Rs 2 crore seized in Delhi
A tenant verification drive in northeast Delhi’s Welcome led the police to a gang of alleged sandalwood smugglers and recovery of 1,340 kg of sandalwood worth over Rs 2 crore in the Indian market, police said on Thursday.
Two alleged smugglers, including one from Chennai, have been arrested.
Deputy commissioner of police (northeast) Atul Kumar Thakur said teams of the district police are carrying out a tenant verification drive in residential areas of northeast Delhi.
During one such drive at a house in Welcome on Wednesday, the DCP said, police found suspicious material covered with plastic bags.
The bags were opened and red wood, which seemed to be sandalwood, were found. The police questioned the house owner, Mohammad Nadeem, and his tenant from Chennai, Mohammad Basil.
“It was learnt Basil had brought the consignment of sandalwood from Chennai and it was to be further transported to Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh for handicraft work. Forest department officials confirmed that the seized wood was sandalwood,” DCP Thakur said.
A case under sections 379 (theft), 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 2, 33 and 42 of Indian Forest Act was registered and the two arrested men.
“The two said the sandalwood were smuggled in trucks carrying goods to Delhi-NCR. The smugglers used to hide them under the goods to avoid being detected by law-enforcement agencies while crossing various states to reach Delhi-NCR. The seized consignment was delivered at Noida from where Basil brought it to his rented home in Welcome. The two were supposed to take it to Moradabad when we caught them,” added the DCP.
Around two months ago, eight logs of red sander wood weighing around 572kg, smuggled into Delhi from the hilly, wooded areas bordering Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, were seized from a godown in south Delhi’s Asola village.
The police had arrested a 41-year-old man from Darjeeling in West Bengal, identified as Amit Verma alias Bobby, for allegedly smuggling red sanders into Delhi and other cities to sell it off to clients in Nepal and China.
The seized wood logs, worth around Rs 50 lakh in the Indian market and Rs 2 crore in international markets, were to be supplied to China through an agent based in Nepal, the police had said in a statement.