The Mumbai Crime Branch on Sunday arrested four persons for their alleged involvement in illegal transportation of red sandalwood.
Police said the accused, who they had planned to intercept and catch near T-junction in Sion, fled the spot initially. The police then raided their godown in Sahar and seized 1,779-kg red sandalwood, worth Rs 1.77 crore.
Police officials said the arrested have been identified as Prasad Khamkar, Manish Tatyane, Nishant Malhotra and Harindra Tiwari. Crime Branch officials said they had received a tip-off that a group was planning to illegally transport red sandalwood.
“We came to know about their route. Accordingly, around 6.15 pm on Saturday, we laid a trap near T-junction and when we tried to stop the tempo, the driver sped it away,” said an officer.
Later, the Crime Branch officials followed the tempo and saw that the goods were offloaded in a godown in New Sanjay Nagar on Sahar Road in Andheri East.
“A team then went there and conducted a raid,” said an officer. Eventually, the accused were arrested and the sandalwood, which was stored in 54 white sacks, seized. The police also seized the tempo that was used as a means to supply the goods.
During investigation, the police learnt that the sandalwood had been brought to Mumbai from Mysore. Following the seizure, the Crime Branch officials early on Sunday registered a case at the Dharavi police station.
“We are trying to identify their suppliers based in Karnataka. So far, we have learnt that the four accused had ordered the sandalwood and were planning to sell it further,” an officer said.