Smuggling racket

Published: Saturday 31 December 2005

A large scale timber-smuggling racket operating from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu has come to light with the seizure of 180 tonnes of red sander wood by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (dri) recently.

Export of Rakt chandan or red sandalwood is prohibited by the Indian Exim Policy 2002-2007. It is on the list of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Wild Species of Fauna and Flora.

Authorities in Hong Kong, with intelligence from dri s, also seized 60 tonnes of the wood. The wood mainly sourced from Rayalaseema region of Andhra, is smuggled out to China and Japan, where it is used in Asian medicinal systems and for making furniture and musical instruments. Here it sells for as high as Rs 750 to Rs 1,000 per kg.

In the last two years, the dri ( Mumbai Zonal Unit ) seized 319 metric tonnes of the wood worth over Rs 30 crore. The worth of seizures has increased from Rs 6 crore in 2004 to Rs 23 crore this year.

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