Mumbai crime: One more person arrested in red sandalwood smuggling case

Updated: Sep 22, 2019, 13:02 IST | Suraj Ojha | Mumbai

Three persons involved in the case were arrested a few days ago; one caught now is key person, says police

Pics/ Suraj Ojha
Pics/ Suraj Ojha

In a follow-up to the case of smuggling red sandalwood, the unit-IX of the city crime branch have arrested one more accused. According to the police, the arrested, identified as Imran Rafiq Shaikh (43) is one of the persons who is said to be the key person of this entire nexus and knows the case inside out.

Akbar Pathan, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection) said, "This is an important catch for us as he is aware of how this gang is working and he can help us to get more people who are involved in exporting illegal red sandalwood to other countries."

Few days ago, a team of cops, under the supervision of Senior Inspector Mahesh Desai of the crime branch, had conducted an operation and successfully arrested three persons, Asgar Ismail Sheikh (49), Wajid Abbas Ansari (32) and Ali Shantaram Shaikh (32), for smuggling red sandalwood from Santacruz, recovering 1556 kilogram of red sandalwood worth Rs 7.5 crore from them. "After that during the investigation, we came to know about their two hideouts from where we seized around red sandalwood worth Rs 15 crore," Pathan added.

smugglerThe team of police officers with the arrested smuggler

Once the team learned of their location, two teams were formed under the supervision of Senior inspector Desai, and the team that included inspector Sanjeev Gavde, Asha Korke, API Sudhir Jadhav, Sharad Gharade, Valmik Kore, Bhupendra Deore, PSI Vijyendra Ambvade, and other 21 staffs. 

The team later raided the spots at Bhindi Bazaar and Ghodbandar Road. "We raided the locations and seized 40 boxes containing 2200 kilograms of red sandalwood worth Rs 11 crores at a godown in Ghodbander Road and 25 boxes from Bhindi Bazaar worth Rs 4 crores."

According to the police, the consignment was about to be shipped to China and Hongkong. Asgar and Wajid were driving the tempo while Ali had come to unload the consignment. As per preliminary information, the sandal was brought from South India.

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