A surprise check conducted by a team of forest officials of the Arcot forest range in Edaichikkal area near Sholinghur on Friday led to the seizure of three two-wheelers, felled red sanders logs and axes. But, the gang, which was involved in the felling of trees, managed to flee the spot.
So far, illegal felling of red sander trees was rampant in Sesahachalam reserve forest near Tirupati in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. In most of the cases connected to cutting and smuggling of red sanders booked by the Andhra Pradesh, the accused were members of tribal communities residing in Tiruvannamalai district.
Though Vellore district too had a sizeable number of red sanders, they were of second quality. Moreover, the presence of red sanders in Vellore were not publicised much and as officials feared that it might attract unnecessary attention from red sander mafia. So, the smugglers were targeting the trees in Andhra Pradesh.