TIRUPATI: The smuggling of red sanders logs from the Seshachalam forest range in Andhra Pradesh continues unabated even as police seized five tonnes of the ‘endangered’ wood and arrested 11 smugglers and woodcutters in two separate incidents on Thursday.
In Tirupati, the Puttur sub-division police arrested the notorious inter-state smuggler, K Senthil Kumar (42), and four of his accomplices - all natives of Tamil Nadu. They seized 191 logs, valued at Rs 4 crore in the international market, along with a four-wheeler and a mini-truck that was being used to transport the logs. Police said Senthil Kumar, the kingpin of the gang, had links with several smugglers across the country and abroad.
On a tip-off, police conducted vehicular checks at Vanamali Hotel near SV Puram toll plaza along the Tirupati-Chennai highway early on Thursday, district Superintendent of Police P Parameswara Reddy said. He added that they identified a speeding car, which was being tailed by a mini-truck, heading towards Chennai.
“Both the drivers noticed that vehicular checks were being conducted and tried to make a U-turn to evade police. However, the alert personnel intercepted the vehicles. Police found 191 red sanders logs and eight smaller logs in the mini-truck,” Parameswara Reddy disclosed. A case was registered and the accused were sent to remand, the SP said. The other four accused have been identified as D Nagaraju, V Sarangapani, K Nazeer Basha and N Muthuraman.
In another incident, the Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force (RSASTF) sleuths seized 127 red sanders logs weighing approximately 2.8 tonnes and valued at Rs 3 crore. They arrested six persons, two four-wheelers and three motorcycles from the accused on Thursday.
Disclosing the details to reporters, RSASTF Superintendent of Police M Meda Sundara Rao said the task force teams nabbed the accused while conducting combing operations at Sathyavedu, Bhakarapeta and Chittoor East divisions.
The accused have been identified as Karimulla, A Syed, Sarvesham, D Mathu, all natives of Tamil Nadu, and N Ravi Kumar and N Chiranjeevi of Karani Mitta village in Chittoor.Three separate cases were registered.