Two arrested while smuggling red sandalwood

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Navi Mumbai, Feb 25 (PTI) Customs officials at the JNPTtoday claimed to have busted an international racket trying tosmuggle out red sandalwood to different countries via Dubai byarresting two persons and seizing the contraband.

Shailesh Bhanushali and his aide Nayeem Shaikh werearrested today after a truck driven by the latter was foundcarrying 9.5 tonnes of red sandalwood worth Rs 1 crore.

According to a customs official, the red sandalwood,known as Rakta Chandan in India, was transported from Silvasain the truck which was carrying some fake documents.

Acting on a tip off, the truck moving inside thepremises of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust was intercepted lastevening, the official said adding "When the containers in thetruck were opened, the officials found sandalwood. It wassupposed to be smuggled to Dubai on a ship as ''printedbooks''."

The main accused Bhanushali had prepared all the fakedocuments to get the clearance at the port, the officialadded.

"The accused had used a Mumbai based exporter''s name tosmuggle the red sandalwood who was unaware that his name wasbeing used in the crime," the official said.

The red sandalwood might have been procured fromAndhra Pradesh and it was to be smuggled to Japan, China andMalaysia via Dubai where it has a huge demand, he added.

The export of red sanders, which is found in theforests of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, is banned under theConvention on International Trade in Endangered Species ofwild Flora and Fauna. .

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