KADAPA: Eleven red sanders smugglers, including a notorious inter-state smuggler Arcot Bhai of Tamil Nadu, were arrested by the Kadapa police on Tuesday and 85 red sanders logs weighing 1,207 kg (1.2 tonnes) were seized from them. The value of the banned timber is estimated to be `1 crore in the grey market.Giving details of the case to mediapersons, district superintendent of police A Babuji said traps were laid at three places — Railway Kodur, Obulavaripalli and Chitvel — based on details provided by red sanders smugglers and woodcutters who were arrested recently in Rajampet and Rayachoti.
The accused were smuggling the logs in a container, two lorries and three cars (BMW, Scorpio, and Ertiga). Two motorcycles used as pilot vehicles were also seized, the SP said. Among the arrested was Arcot Bhai, a follower of international smuggler Saji who is based in Dubai. Seven of the remaining 10 arrested were also inter-state smugglers.
Arcot, and Aadi Sekhar Reddy alias Mandarapu Babu were arrested at Suruparajupalle crossroads in Railway Kodur mandal, while one Ethirajulu Srinivasulu alias Naidu abandoned his BMW and fled. A total of 17 logs were seized from their two cars (BMW and Ertiga). Based on information provided by the duo, one lorry laden with 20 logs was intercepted in the forest area near Billupatupalle village in the same mandal. Lorry driver Raman, who hails from Arcot and Sakthivel from Selam, were arrested. Simultaneously, another police team arrested Pakala Chandramouli, and Gangaraju Venkatarama Raju at Mangapet on the Kadapa-Tirupati highway.
Who is Arcot Bhai?
Arcot bhai was a hotelier in Vellore and over the last 20 years became a major smuggler of red sanders. He is the right-hand man of Dubai-based smuggler Saji and till date, smuggled 500 tonnes of red sanders logs. Information on his whereabouts was provided by Mustafa, another smuggler from Tamil Nadu, police said.