Kingpin in Int'l Red Sanders Racket Caught
Four months after the forest and police department officials busted an international smuggling racket and seized 17 tonnes of red sanders from a defunct leather factory godown in Minnur near Ambur, the forest department personnel attached to Ambur Range arrested the owner of the godown on Wednesday.
Acting on specific information, a three-member team led by Forester Pon Senthil arrested R L Manoharan (40) from near his house at Krishnapuram in Ambur Town around 10:30 am. Manoharan, who was in hiding since September last year, had come to Ambur to meet his family.
Senthil said a special team has been constituted to investigate and arrest those involved in the illegal activity. “Our efforts paid off today (Wednesday). We are interrogating Manoharan to collect more information about his associates and their network,” Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Tirupattur Dinkar Kumar told Express.
Manoharan had been frequently changing his location in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh for the last four months to evade arrest. “He tipped off two of his associates, who are the kingpins of the international smuggling racket. We are trying to track the duo who are residents of Red Hills and Koyambedu in Chennai,” said another official on condition of anonymity.
Manoharan was produced before the Judicial Magistrate Court in Ambur and remanded to the Vellore Central Prison for Men. “We will seek his custody for further interrogation,” said a forest officer.
The smuggling of red sander logs came to light on September 14 last year following a late night raid carried out by the officials of the revenue and police department in the godown. The officials raided the godown after being alerted by villagers.