₹3 cr. worth red sanders logs seized, 18 smuggling operatives nabbed

Ten of them are aged between 19 and 28

In a major operation, the Puttur sub-division police on Saturday nabbed as many as 18 red sanders operatives, including 15 from Tamil Nadu, and seized three tonnes of logs, worth about ₹3 crore in the international market, from hideouts on the forest-fringe hillocks between Narayanavanam and Yerpedu mandals.

Addressing the media, Superintendent of Police S. Senthil Kumar, who visited Narayanavanam police station in this connection, said a batch of smuggling operatives trespassed into the forested hills between Narayanavanam and Yerpedu a couple of days ago, and felled several trees.

In the early hours, an SUV carrying 20 logs was intercepted at Palamangalam junction on the Puttur-Chennai national highway. Four red sanders operatives who were nabbed had provided vital information, leading to the operation on the hillocks.

Following this, as many as 290 logs were seized from the bushes and were brought to the Narayanvanam police station.

Of the accused, three were from KVB Puram of Puttur sub-division who used to assist the smuggling operatives with information about the movement of police on the NHs, besides providing them logistic support, including food material.

Vigil to be intensified

Fifteen others were from the Tiruvannamalai district of T.N. Ten are aged between 19 and 28, while the rest are aged between 30 and 35. The SP expressed serious concern about the lure of red sanders among the youth. “Police vigil would be intensified at all the important road points serving as transit routes for the red sanders operatives,” he said.

Deputy SP (Puttur) T.D. Yashwant, who led the operation with the police parties of Karveti Nagaram, Narayanavanam, Pichatur, Nagalapuram, and Puttur, said that in the wake of the detection of red sanders felling activity in Narayanavanam hillocks, surveillance would be mounted at the entry and exit points.

In another major haul, the Red Sanders Task Force squad from Tirupati on Friday night seized 2.08 tonnes of red sanders logs, worth about ₹1.5 crore in the international market, from a godown at Ponneri on the outskirts of Chennai, and arrested one smuggling operative while a search is launched for five other accused.

Superintendent of Police (Task Force) M. Sundar Rao

said that on Friday morning, one operative from KVB Puram mandal was nabbed and seven logs were seized on the outskirts of Tirupati. Acting on information from him, the raid was conducted on the clandestinely-operated godown near Chennai.

“The consignment of 270 logs was getting ready for transportation to Chennai harbour when the raiding party reached there. In order to avoid detection, the logs were hidden beneath scrap material,” the SP said. The seized logs were brought to the Task Force godown in Tirupati. A case has been registered.

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