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10 tonnes of smuggled sandalwood seized in Nepal

Nepali authorities acting on a tip-off from Maoists seize 10 tonnes of red sandalwood being smuggled from India to China.
None | By HT Correspondent, Kathmandu
UPDATED ON MAY 18, 2007 05:40 PM IST

Nepali authorities acting on a tip-off from Maoists have seized 10 tonnes of red sandalwood being smuggled from India to China, a news report has said.

The police raided a house in Imadole of Lalitpur district and seized 10 tonnes of red sandalwood after the Maoist Young Communist League (YCL) provided a tip-off to the authorities leading to the arrest of one Raju Shrestha involved in the smuggling.

The sandalwood was being stored in the place for the last three weeks and smugglers were preparing to take it to China, the Nepal News online said on Thursday.

Nearly seven tonnes of red sandalwood valued at Rs 2 crore was seized at Shimle in Nepal's Sindupalchowk district on April 19 while being smuggled to China via Tatopani border. The sandalwood had been loaded on a truck inside sacks of beaten rice and dust.

Sources had said that five trucks loaded with red sandalwood had passed through Tatopani customs and headed for the Chinese border a day earlier. The police had also seized 11 tonnes of red sandalwood from Naubise in Kathmandu.

Nepal's top watchdog, the Commission of Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), has directed the authorities to clampdown on smuggling of red sandalwood from India to China via Nepal.

The CIAA had summoned Secretaries of Forest, Home and Finance Ministries as well as officials of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department, Customs Department, Revenue Investigation Department, Forest Department and Police Headquarters in April to devise ways to check the growing incidents of sandalwood smuggling.

The CIAA had also directed the authorities to beef up security along the border with India to check the smuggling in the porous region.

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