TIRUPATI: Despite efforts by police, task force and forests, the smuggling of precious red sanders wood continues unabated in Chittoor district. The series of arrests of inter-state smugglers, woodcutters and local gangs in recent times indicate the intensity of the smuggling activity.
In a big catch, the Piler division police in coordination with special teams keeping a vigil on movement of smugglers in the district under the supervision of SEB joint director Vidyasagar Naidu arrested 13 inter-state smugglers on Sunday. It seized 115 logs worth Rs 1.5 crore and also vehicles worth Rs 50 lakh from their possession. Chittoor SP Senthilkumar said, “The Piler urban police in coordination with the special teams conducted a vehicular check near the Ponthala Cheruvu crossroad in the wee hours on Sunday. They caught three vehicles laden with red sanders logs.”
Among the seizures, 115 logs weighed 3.5 tonnes worth Rs 1.5 crore in the international market along with a truck and two cars. They also arrested 13 interstate smugglers -- K Surendra Reddy, 27; Ashok Kumar Reddy, 40, Murali, 29; Ramanjaneyulu, 41; Vikesh, 26; Sanjeev, 24; Vijaykanth; Sakthivel, Vijaya Kumar, Yelumalai, Vel Swamy, Venkatesh, 54, and Hari Murthy, 42.
While five among those arrested belonged to Kadapa and Chittoor districts, eight of the arrested were from Tamil Nadu.
The Chittoor SP appreciated the efforts put in by Piler CI Sadik Ali and his team and the SEB sleuths for effecting the seizures and arrests.