Rs. 4 Cr. worth red sanders dump seized in Karnataka
The Chittoor Task Force Police launched flash raids at two places in Katiganahalli village in Bengaluru Rural limits in Karnataka on Thursday night and seized about two tons of high-grade red sanders logs worth around Rs. 4 crores in the international market.
Additional Superintendent of Police (Red Sanders Operations) Yelisala Ratna told The Hindu that a 20-member armed task force party led by senior cops rushed to Katiganahalli close to Thursday midnight. The raids continued till the early hours of Friday. “Since six months, we have been conducting awareness camps and cultural activities at Katiganahalli village, sensitising the youth involved in the smuggling activity to shun the trade. We also appealed to the misled youth to surrender and avoid arrests. But there is no response from them. Hence, we are forced to undertake special raids,” Ms Ratna said, adding the raids had not seen any resistance from the local people, and that the local police had cooperated well.
The ASP said that as of now no arrests had been made and that the operatives at the godowns fled on seeing the police personnel. “The accused will be arrested, and our men have already initiated a thorough investigation in this regard,” she said.
The official observed that Katiganahalli had become the hotbed of stocking red sanders logs procured from various places of Rayalaseema and south-eastern coastal Andhra Pradesh. During the last two years, the Chittoor Task Force police launched nearly half a dozen raids and seized about 20 tonnes of logs at Katiganahalli, arresting several smugglers, including a couple of Chinese nationals.
The latest seizure of red sanders dump would be brought to Chittoor, the ASP said.
Wanted list going up
Kattiganahalli in Bengaluru Rural hit the limelight two years ago when it was detected as the centre point, from where the precious wood gets spread out to various destinations, particularly to the seaports along the western coast and to the Indo-Bhutanese border, from where the consignments reach Chinese cities.
At times of slump or high risk in the clandestine trade, the smugglers, based in Chennai and Bengaluru and elsewhere in Andhra Pradesh, would prefer to dump their goods at the godowns in Katiganahalli, considered safe from raids by the Andhra Pradesh police, particularly from Chittoor and Kadapa districts.
In spite of the repeated inter-State raids at Katiganahalli and Malheur areas in Karnataka, the local youth there continue with red sanders smuggling.
The Chittoor police had so far arrested 20 accused from Katiganahalle, and as per the police records, the list of accused who are at large by July end, stood at 64, who were involved in red sanders smuggling at various levels, including working as pilots, drivers, informers, executing transactions and maintaining links with the smugglers and operating of private godowns and assault of police personnel.