INDIA.Mumbai: Unit V of the Mumbai police’s Crime Branch on Saturday seized red sandal worth Rs 1.77 crore after raiding a godown located in Andheri East in northwest Mumbai and arrested four persons for their alleged involvement in illegal transportation of red sandalwood.
According to a police statement released on Monday, as per tip-off received by Police Inspector Mohini Lokhande, the police had laid a trap near T junction at Sion-Mahim Link Road, Dharavi in North Central Mumbai to catch a tempo laden with red sandalwood. However, the sandalwood smugglers gave police a slip and fled with the tempo. The police then intercepted the tempo and spotted it near a godown in New Sanjay Nagar Co-operative Housing Society, Parsiwada, on Sahar Road in Andheri East. The godown is located near Sahar international Cargo Complex.
The four accused were nabbed while they were off-loading the sandalwood. The police seized 55 white sacks containing the 1,779-kg, 585-gram red sandalwood, worth Rs 1.77,95,850/- crore. They also impounded the tempo-Tata ACE.
The arrested accused were identified as Prasad Khamkar, Manish Tatyane, Nishant Malhotra, and Harindra Tiwari. Two FIRs-No. 45/2021 (Crime branch, Unit V) and No. 202/2021(Dharavi police station) have been registered. The accused have been booked under sections 379, 34 of the Indian Penal Code, sections 41 and 42 of the Indian forest act 1927, and sections 3 and 4 of Maharashtra Protection of Forest Act 1975.
During the investigation, the police learned that the sandalwood was brought to Mumbai from Mysore in neighboring Karnataka and it was to be sent abroad. “We are trying to identify their suppliers based in Karnataka. So far, we have learned that the four accused had ordered the sandalwood and were planning to sell it further,” an officer said.
The operation was carried out under supervision of Joint Commissioner of Police(crime) Milind Bharambe, Additional CP S. Viresh Prabhu, DCP Prakash Jadhav, ACP Sopan Nighot by officers Ganesh Jadhav, Amol Mali, Mahesh Bandgar and staff.