The Mumbai Police, probing the alleged red sanders smuggling racket busted mid sea last week, have identified one more ship which is believed to have been used in the previous smuggling runs by the arrested accused.
The racket was busted last week in a joint operation by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the Coast Guard where 23 tons of red sanders worth Rs nine crore was seized. The DRI had at the time arrested 16 people and seized two vessels. The case was transferred to the Crime Branch Unit III, who went on to arrest history sheeter Mohammed Ali Abu Bakr Sheikh along with two others, bringing the total number of arrested accused up to 19.
“Subsequent investigations into the racket have thrown up indications pointing to the racket being much wider in its scope than we initially thought. The arrested accused have told us of one more ship that they have used in previous smuggling runs conducted over the past six months, and we are trying to locate that ship. The accused have also said in their interrogation that the red sanders was brought from south India by road, hidden amongst various goods in trucks, stored in Mumbai for a short period of time and then smuggled to Dubai,” said a Crime Branch officer.
According to investigations so far, there seems to be a separate module working with the gang in south India, which collects the red sanders and sell them to the module in Mumbai. We suspect that after being released on bail following his arrest for the 2010 murder of Sayed Chand Madar, he decided to move away from oil black-marketing to red sanders smuggling due to the lucrative profits that it offers,” said the officer.
Investigations have indicated that the red sanders was going to be further sent from Dubai to China, where it is in high demand.