At least 15 sandalwood smugglers attacked an apartment complex in the wee hours of Sunday morning and chopped all the trees on the premises,Fatehgunj police said. This is one of the three attacks in the last 48 hours,which marks the return of the racket of sandalwood smugglers,after it was busted in 2008 by the Kheda and Vadodara police.
According to the watchman,N Tadvi (65),the smugglers had attacked the complex to cut down sandalwood tress on many occasions before. I wasnt prepared for the attack,when the 15 goons armed with rods and sticks entered the premises with an aim to cut the trees. I immediately called up the Fatehgunj police station and managed to wake up a few residents. However,we could not save the trees as they managed to chop all of them,” added Tadvi.
Inspector J R Desai said that this gang was new in the business and had also attacked two places in Gorwa and Makarpura area near Lal Baugh and chopped all the trees there.
In September 2008,the Nadiad and Vadodara district police along with District Forest officials arrested two dealers,Bharat Patel and Sathi Miya Chawda from Mangroli Village in Kheda,who bought sandalwood from the smugglers in the region. The alleged kingpin,Kanu Magan Wagde,and his brother,Suresh,are still at large,police said.