Over 900 kgs of red sandalwood seized in West Bengal

Jalpaiguri: Around 915 kgs of banned red sandalwood logs worth approximately Rs 70 lakh have been seized from Angrabhasa in Jalpaiguri district and two persons were arrested, police said today.

Acting on a tip-off, the personnel of Dhupguri police station raided a house in Angrabhasa late last night and recovered the red sandalwood.

A top forest department official said the price of the seized logs could be anywhere between Rs 65 lakh and Rs 70 lakh in Indian market.

Police said the red sandalwood was found at the premises of one Mohammad Rana, who was arrested along with another person identified as Ali Akbar.

Police suspect that the seized logs were to be sent from Nepal via Siliguri to Bhutan or Jaigaon, a town bordering Bhutan, in neighbouring Alipurduar district.

However, due to increased police arrangement owing to the approaching Assembly election in the state, the red sandalwood had been temporary hidden at the house of Rana.

A huge quantity of illegal red sandalwood logs and barks, worth several crores of rupees, were seized from Jaigaon in July last year.

Red sandalwood has a huge demand in China due to its medicinal properties and other usage.

It is largely found in southern India, mainly in Andhra Pradesh. The wood comes under the endangered category of wild flora and fauna whose export is banned.