Tamil Nadu: DRI seizes 40 tons of red sanders from godown

Rs 16 crore worth logs hoarded to be smuggled abroad.

Chennai: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials on Saturday landed a major haul of red sanders of about 40 tons from a godown near Oragadam, 56 kms from Chennai, off the Chennai-Bengaluru highway on Saturday. The seized red sanders logs are worth over Rs 16 crore, according to officials. Sources said the DRI officers were working on various inputs about red sanders being smuggled through Oragadam, an automotive manufacturing hub on the outskirts of the city.

“We received intelligence about various gangs collecting red sanders logs in these godowns and then clandestinely swapping them with export consignments bound for foreign destinations through Chennai port”, an official said. On Saturday, officials spotted a suspicious looking truck near Panruti and intercepted it. On inspection, the truck was found to be loaded with bags stuffed with worn rags and clothes.

However, below the bags, red sanders logs were found, after which the officials took the truck driver to the godown where they were loaded. On reaching the godown, a SUV was spotted and the men inside fled in the vehicle, leaving one person behind. He was apprehended and on further inspection of the godown, four trucks loaded with red sanders logs were found.

The trucks and the wooden logs worth over Rs16 crore were seized and the godown sealed. The highly prized species of trees is smuggled to the Middle East and South East Asian countries from where ultimately they land in China, officials said. Investigations are on to find the others involved in the smuggling.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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