3 held with red sandalwood worth Rs 7.5 crore, racket busted in Santacruz
During investigation, crime branch officials learned that the red sandalwood was transported from Chennai in a truck to Wadala from where it was loaded in two tempos and brought to Santacruz.Updated: Sep 11, 2019 01:50 IST
The Mumbai crime branch arrested three persons with 1556-kg red sandalwood worth ₹7.5 crore on Tuesday and busted an international smuggling racket.
Crime branch officials said the sandalwood was seized in two vehicles from Santacruz (West) and the accused allegedly wanted to smuggle it to Hong Kong through his associates in Goa.
The accused were identified as Asgar Ismail Shaikh, 49; Ali Shantaram Shaikh, 32; and Wajid Abbas Ansari, 32. While Asgar and Wajid are tempo drivers, officials believe Ali is the kingpin in Mumbai and has been involved in smuggling since many years.
“He has his godown in Santacruz (West), where he hid red sandalwood that used to come from Chennai,” said Akbar Pathan, deputy commissioner of police of the crime branch.
Police inspector Sanjeev Gavade of Unit 9 got a tip off and along with senior inspector Mahesh Desai laid a trap. “‘A’ grade red sandalwood was being smuggled in two tempos and we intercepted it,” Desai said, adding that the drivers were aware about the red sandalwood and they charged huge amounts to transport it.
They are also part of the gang, Desai said.
During investigation, crime branch officials learned that the red sandalwood was transported from Chennai in a truck to Wadala from where it was loaded in two tempos and brought to Santacruz.
“The accused are now being questioned to find out who their supplier was in Chennai and about their associates in Goa, who was supposed to smuggle it to Hong Kong,” Desai said.
A crime branch official said the consignment was being smuggled to Hong Kong where it is in huge demand and also known as ‘red gold’. Officials said apart from Hong Kong, it has also in huge demand in China owing to its medicinal properties.