In massive haul, DRI seizes 40 metric tonnes of red sanders

In a huge haul of red sanders at the Chennai Port, sleuths of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seized 40 metric tonnes of the precious timber worth Rs 16 crore in the international market on Thursday night. The seized red sanders were reportedly found in containers meant for export to Malaysia.
A portion of the red sanders seized at the Chennai port on Saturday
A portion of the red sanders seized at the Chennai port on Saturday

Chennai

Following a tip off, DRI sleuths unloaded a container from a vessel bound for Port Klang in Malaysia and to their shock found red sanders weighing over 5 metric tonnes, instead of its original cargo such as garments and door mats as per the records.
Following the seizure, and on intelligence inputs that more containers carrying red sanders were arriving at the port, DRI officials intercepted two other vehicles at the gate.
The search in both the containers yielded another 15 metric tonnes of red sanders. Further, based on the information provided by the drivers of both the containers that another consignment had already been loaded on to a vessel, the said container was unloaded leading to the seizure of another 9 metric tonnes of red sanders.
A DRI official told Dt Next that the modus operandi by the smugglers is managing access to the containers after being cleared by the Container Freight Stations (CFS). On smuggling the red sanders into their private godowns, they then move the logs to a certain point between the CFS and the port and load the timber after replacing it with the original cargo that has been cleared by CFS.
However, the official ruled out the scope of the red sanders being carried through CFS as each container is scanned by individuals.
It may be noted that during the past three years, DRI officials of the Chennai Zonal Unit have seized 176 metric tonnes of red sanders worth Rs 71 crore.

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