Huge cache of sandalwood meant for TAR seized by police

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Gangtok, Nov 30 (UNI) Sikkim police today seized a huge consignment of sandalwood, meant for the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), from the 14,400 feet mountainous corridor of Nathu La in the state.

East Sikkim Superintendent of Police (SP) Dr M S Tuli said acting on a tip-off, Gangtok police seized 83 logs of sandalwood in sizes of 4.5 feet, three feet and five feet, worth Rs 20-25 lakh, yesterday during a raid in a rented house at Bojogahri.

The origin of the seized sandalwood could be either from Maharashtra or Karnataka, the SP added.

Police also arrested a person during the raid.

The smuggled consignment was hidden under cement bags in a truck to be sent across the border during the last few days of the Nathu La trade, Dr Tuli said.

Yesterday was the last day of border trade for this year.

Police also recovered 80 bags of cement and two bags of white powder. Powder had been sprinkled over the sandalwood logs to conceal their fragrance, Dr Tuli said.

Sources claimed that another consignment of sandalwood may already been smuggled across the Nathu La border earlier.

The border trade between Sikkim and the TAR, which closed on November 29, was limited to only four days a week during the season.

Customs, immigration, quarantine, intelligence personnel and Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) were posted at the Sherathang trade mart near the border.


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