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Air India Employee Among Three Held for Smuggling Red Sanders Wood

They were found in possession of 40.84 kgs of red sanders-- an endangered species of wood. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade has made it illegal to possess and sell the wood.

Updated:October 17, 2019, 5:47 PM IST
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Air India Employee Among Three Held for Smuggling Red Sanders Wood
Image for representation.

New Delhi: Three persons including an Air India employee have been arrested by the Customs department for their alleged involvement in smuggling red sanders wood out of the country, an official statement said on Thursday.

On the basis of suspicion, Vishal Kumar and Ankit Kumar, who were scheduled to fly to Hong Kong last week, were intercepted on Terminal-3, IGI Airport by the Customs officials.

They were found in possession of 40.84 kgs of red sanders-- an endangered species of wood. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade has made it illegal to possess and sell the wood.

As the duo failed to produce any documents in support of the possession of the wood whose market value was approximately Rs 4,08,000, they were arrested it said.

One of them admitted to have smuggled 30 kgs of red sanders wood in his previous visit, it said.

On follow-up, Vishal's father Sunil Kumar Bagdi, who is employed with Air India, admitted to have smuggled red sanders on six occasions in the past for the same handler and received Rs 5,000 as consideration on each trip, the statement added.

Vishal, Ankit and Sunil have been arrested under relevant provisions of the customs act.

Red sander is found mainly in the Seshachalam hill ranges spread across Kadapa, Chittoor and Kurnool in the Rayalaseema region and parts of Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh.

The wood has huge demand abroad, especially in China and Japan, where it commands a good price. It is a valued item in traditional medicines and woodcraft across China, Myanmar, Japan and East Asia.

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