A day after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized a huge consignment of red sanders from a couple of godowns in the Capital,the agency questioned two persons who are alleged to be the masterminds behind the smuggling racket. A spice trader from Old Delhi is also under the scanner for aiding the duo.
Besides them,the DRI is likely to summon a businessman from Chennai,who had allegedly floated several export firms to smuggle the wood outside the country. Explaining the modus operandi of the gang,a DRI official said,They used to smuggle these goods through various ports across India. They would shift their areas of operation whenever things became too hot for them. The destination would mostly be some Gulf country.
From there,the goods would be taken to China,where they would be used for making musical instruments. Export of red sanders is prohibited because the species is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The agency also claimed to have seized documents related to various consignments exported to Dubai,and payments made through Hawala channels.
According to investigators,the wood was hidden inside containers containing other items meant for export. The agency,which is also probing the involvement of port officials,has pegged its price at Rs 60 crore.
When contacted,ADG (DRI-Delhi Zone) Rakesh Sharma said,We are still in the process of confiscating more consignments.
The DRI had registered a complaint under various sections of Customs Act and Foreign Trade Policy.
The two,who are being questioned by the agency,will be brought before a Delhi court for seeking their custody.