A 54-year-old man has been arrested in New Delhi for allegedly stocking 9,042 kg of red sandalwood worth an estimated Rs.4.52 crore in the Indian market, police said on Tuesday.
Hussain alias Pappu was arrested on Sunday from his house in east Delhi’s Dayalpur area in a joint operation by Delhi Police and its Andhra Pradesh counterpart.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Veenu Bansal said, “A stock of 9,042 kg red sandalwood was seized from Hussain’s godown in Burari (north Delhi).”
Bansal said the recovered sandalwood stock was very precious and it is found nowhere in the world, except a few districts of Andhra Pradesh.
Police said sandalwood costs around Rs.2,000-5,000 per kg in India and is in demand at much higher prices in China, Japan, Myanmar and other Southeast Asian nations, where it is reportedly used in the manufacture of herbal aphrodisiac.
During his interrogation by police, Hussain said the price of red sandalwood goes up to Rs.1 lakh per kg in China.
Hussain confessed to the police about smuggling red sandalwood logs from forest areas of Andhra Pradesh.
“Hussain used to smuggle sandalwood from Andhra Pradesh in trucks under the guise of transportation of fruits and vegetables and stocked them illegally in his godowns in Delhi,” Bansal said.
The man also confessed to having contacts with international smugglers based in Delhi and China, the police official said.
“The sandalwood is transported to China via the road route through Nepal and via cargo consignment through ships,” Bansal was quoted by IANS.
The man is wanted in five similar cases of sandalwood smuggling registered in various police stations of Andhra Pradesh and was earlier arrested in a smuggling case in Assam.