Kolkata, April 21: The red sandalwood axe is all set to fall on the high and mighty and the Andhra Pradesh police are in the process of carrying out a spate of high profile arrests. They are likely to summon a former Congress Minister who is currently with the YSR Congress Party in connection with the red sandalwood smuggling case.
It has been found that red sandalwood smugglers had the backing of an ex MLA from Tamil Nadu and a sitting MLA from Andhra Pradesh.
Big wigs to be questioned
The AP police is treading very carefully and would question these high profile personalities before arresting them. We have concrete information about these politicians who have had a nexus with the red sandalwood smugglers, an top officer informed Oneindia.
The politician from Andhra Pradesh has been under the radar since the past couple of months and the police have been gathering information on him. It has been alleged that the former Minister was hand in glove with the red sandalwood smugglers and this had helped them carry out their business all these years.
He is also said to have coordinated with an ex-MLA in Tamil Nadu. This coordination in fact helped the red sandal wood smugglers move the contraband between the two states with such ease.
TN elections funded by red sandalwood smugglers
The AP police have also found that the last elections that were held in Tamil Nadu were funded by red sandalwood smugglers. The extent of the funding is what we are looking into the AP police official informed.
The police during their investigations found that many political parties in Tamil Nadu had received funds to contest the previous assembly elections. In turn these politicians have provided them with backing which ensured that their activities went on unabated.
A large part of the police operation was hindered as these MLAs would call the police and stop them from stalling red sandalwood activities, police officials informed.
There have also been instances in which the release of several smugglers arrested both by the TN and AP police have been ordered by these politicians.
The West Bengal connection
It was found during the probe that a lot of smuggled red sandalwood had been transported to West Bengal. The arrest of one smuggler Sounder Rajan from West Bengal revealed that logs worth Rs 20 crore were smuggled in a bid to move it to Myanmar.
Rajan had stationed himself at Siliguri, West Bengal where he operated a timber go-down. The red sandalwood would land here and then be transported illegally into Myanmar where there is a high demand.