Red sanders wood worth Rs 3.5 crore seized

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West Bengal
Kolkata, Dec 30: A team of smugglers were apprehended and seven tonnes of red sandalwood, valued at nearly Rs 3.5 crore, was seized from them off Haldia coast in West Bengal, Coast Guard officials said today.

On receipt of information from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence's zonal office in Kolkata, an Indian Coast Guard hovercraft successfully intercepted and apprehended the boat along with its crew off Bashudevpur near Haldia yesterday.

The boat was manned by six Indians and was laden with seven tons of red sandalwood, an endangered species of timber under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) list, officials said. Preliminary interrogation of the apprehended crew revealed that the boat was loaded with prohibited consignment a day prior at Kolaghat.

The master of the vessel had instructions to rendezvous with a trawler anchored off Haldia to carry out transshipment of the red sandalwood consignment to the trawler. The plan was to smuggle the sandalwood to Bangladesh through the riverine route, sources said.

The apprehended boat was escorted by Coast Guard and DRI team to Haldia for detailed interrogation of the crew and necessary legal formalities.

PTI

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