CHENNAI: The city police busted a red sanders- smuggling racket based out of the city in the wee hours of Sunday. They also seized nearly four tonnes of the wood kept in a nursery which, police said, was used by the smugglers as a transit point.
Police have arrested seven persons, including the owner of the nursery in this connection.
The wood is banned for export as it is a protected species. However, the wood is smuggled from the forests of Andhra Pradesh before being exported to countries like China. “We believe that the criminals had planned to smuggle the wood across to countries including China, Malaysia and UAE. The wood is valued here at a price of about `40 lakh while out of the country, the value gets multiplied as there is a huge demand for it in other countries,” said a police officer.
The anti-gangster wing of the Central Crime Branch swung into action after receiving a tip- off that a gang was using Chennai as the transit point and that large amounts of the wood were stored in a nursery near Madhavaram at Moola Chatiram Main Road.
As the police stormed into the nursery owned by one Sivakumar, they found that red sanders were being shifted from a truck to a container lorry. “We managed to round up seven people from the spot. After enquiring, we found that three people residing at Kodingaiyur named Dawood, Mohideen and Arun Kumar are the kingpins of the racket. They are currently absconding and we are on the lookout for them,” said a police officer of CCB.
A special team has also been formed by the city police to keep tabs on the red sanders smugglers operating in the city.