Gangi Reddy and Sahu Bhai are no ordinary names. If one looks at the red sandalwood smuggling racket which runs into several thousand crores of rupees, then one must also know that these two persons are the kingpins.
Gangi Reddy who is currently in the custody of the Mauritius police operated out of Andhra Pradesh while his partner in crime Sahu Bhai operated from Chennai. [Red sandalwood: How these former ministers ran the godown in West Bengal]
Together they carried out this huge racket which has a mix of almost everything ranging from actors, politicians, naxalites and an international market. [Red sandalwood smuggling: Former Congress Minister to be questioned as link reaches West Bengal]
The empire of Gangi Reddy and Sahu Bhai
Each of these persons had a jurisdiction of their own. They were directly connected and handled operations together. Apart from controlling this major racket, they executed one thing in common and that was to rope in the big names and keep their business secure.
The first major threat that these persons received was when Chandrababu Naidu during his second term as Chief Minister of a unified Andhra Pradesh decided to crack down on them. Gangi Reddy was accused of paying off the naxalites to carry out his assassination.
Sahu Bhai on the other hand controlled the operations in Chennai. His main job was to ensure that the red sandalwood felled in the forests of Andhra Pradesh reached Tamil Nadu safely. He also had the additional task of ensuring that it moved out of Tamil Nadu safely through the sea route.
Both these persons were instrumental in creating a route for the smuggled wood into Sri Lanka and also Mauritius.
Roping in the actors
Several film industry personnel have come under the scanner following the thorough investigations conducted into smuggling of red sandalwood. Film actors were used as fronts to park the money. It is the common belief that they are normally not checked by the police due to their status.
The job of the film actors was to hold the money for the smugglers. Investigations show that they earned a 10 per cent cut for holding the money. Investigators say that many more film personalities both from Andhra and Tamil Nadu will come under the scanner in the days to come.
ED joins the probe as Gangi Reddy extradition process begins
The Enforcement Directorate has registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against Gangi Reddy. Every transaction made by him is being probed by the ED and this will definitely lead upto each and every transaction he has made.
The Andhra Pradesh police which is also assisting the ED says that the money trail is extremely crucial. We know ex ministers and several other politicians and actors have been paid off. The role of the forest department and police officials will also come into the picture once this money trail is busted.
Gangi Reddy who had jumped bail in Andhra Pradesh had fled to Dubai some years back. However based on a red corner alert he was arrested in Mauritius three months back.
Currently he is being questioned in Mauritius and the Andhra Pradesh police have sought the help of the CBI to have him extradited. Formalities in this regard are being worked out and once the requisite papers reach Mauritius, there should be no problem in extraditing him, officials say.