Tempo carrying 190kg of illegal sandalwood logs intercepted, driver arrested
The Local Crime Branch (LCB) of Pune police unearthed a major sandalwood theft smuggling racket after they raided a tempo and seized sandalwood logs estimated to be worth Rs 25.82 lakh in Shikrapur on Nov 30.
The LCB under the guidance of police inspector Padmakar Ghanwat had received a tip off that a tempo bearing number MH 17 BD 2698 carrying sandalwood logs illegally was passing through Shikrapur on Pune-Ahmednagar highway.
After the alert, a team of LCB policemen apprehended the tempo at Chakan Chowk and made inquiries with the driver. The logs were hidden inside the tempo under camouflage and could not be visible to any layman at first look.
On tearing apart the cloth curtain, the logs worth 190 kilograms were recovered by the cops.
The driver identified as Suraj Kailas Ubale, (24), a resident of Chanda Taluka was taken into custody for interrogation and later arrested and handed over to the Chakan police for further investigation.
Police inspector Ghanwat said, “Carrying out sandalwood smuggling is a crime under the law and action has been taken based on an input received by the LCB that a tempo, suspiciously carrying sandalwood illegally was passing through. We laid a trap and arrested the suspect and further investigation is on in the case.”
The police have booked the accused under IPC sections related to sandalwood theft, criminal conspiracy and other sections of the Indian Forest Act.
The rural police have in recent times taken strict action against illicit sandalwood trafficking taking place through their jurisdiction and recovered red sanders worth crores of rupees in the national and international markets.
A special team has been readied under the LCB to keep a tab on the concealed movement of sandalwood and a detailed list of the smugglers is being readied for massive action, rural police said.
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