Sandalwood powder racket busted, 6 held

Forest department seizes truck ferrying consignment of 16,000 kg of sandalwood powder to Madhya Pradesh

The Forest Department officials yesterday busted an illegal sandalwood powder racket operating from the city outskirts.

Acting on a tip off, the forest mobile squad intercepted a truck on the Tumkur-Bangalore national highway in the evening and seized a consignment of around 16,000 kg of Sandalwood powder packed in plastic bags that was being taken to Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.

The forest officials arrested five people during the operation and have compounded the truck ferrying the illegal consignment.

"We have sent the samples of sandalwood power to the Wood Science Institute of Technology for tests," said K B Manjunath, district range forest officer.

He added that the arrested have been taken to the Malleshwaram Forest cell and have been booked for illegal transport of sandalwood powder under the Wildlife Protection Act.

The accused, however, claimed that they were merely  working for a transporter and not actually members of the racket. They added that they were just following their master's instructions.

The truck in question belongs to Shiva Transport Company that has been traced to Nelamangala, on the city outskirts.

Regular operations
The forest department has issued notice to the owner of the truck.
"The forest officers are very active here but those carrying out this illegal business are granted bail immediately. The quantum of punishment is seven years of jail," said Sharath Babu, a forest official.

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