1. Agriculture World

Red Sanders Worth Rs. 11.70 crore Seized by DRI Under ‘Operation Rakth Chandan’

Red Sanders is a flora species that is endemic to a small area of forest in Andhra Pradesh's Eastern Ghats region and is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List.

Shivam Dwivedi
Red Sanders
Red Sanders

Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has recovered 14.63 MT of Red Sanders, valued at Rs 11.70 crore in the international market, from a consignment that was stuffed at ICD Sabarmati and was to be exported to Sharjah, UAE, as part of its commitment to preserving the country's natural heritage.

DRI developed intelligence that red sanders logs had been hidden in an export consignment labelled "assorted toiletries" and smuggled out of the country. As a result, Operation Rakth Chandan was launched, and the suspect export consignment was under constant surveillance.

Based on the information provided, the suspect container was scanned with a 'container scanning device,' which revealed the presence of some goods in the form of logs and the absence of declared goods, such as assorted toiletries. As a result, DRI examined the container, which revealed that it was fully stuffed with red-colored wooden logs that appeared to be Red Sandalwood. 840 wooden logs weighing 14.63 MT were discovered in the container after de-stuffing.

There were no other items found. Range Forest Officers conducted a preliminary examination of the wooden logs and determined that they were made of Red Sandalwood, which is prohibited for export. As a result, the items were seized under the provisions of the 1962 Customs Act. Further investigation into the goods' domestic movement, transportation, and the exporter in question is underway.

Red Sanders is a flora species that is endemic to a small area of forest in Andhra Pradesh's Eastern Ghats region and is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List. The Red Sanders is also listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife, Fauna, and Flora's Appendix-II (CITES).

Its rich hue and therapeutic properties account for its high demand in cosmetics, medicinal products, and high-end furniture and woodcraft in Asia, particularly China. According to India's Foreign Trade Policy, the export of Red Sanders is prohibited. 

During its operations across the country in fiscal years 2021-22 and 2020-21, DRI seized 95 and 96 MT of Red Sanders, valued at over Rs. 150 crores in the international market. DRI seized 12.20 MT of Red Sanders wood, along with cover cargo of sand/cement chips/gravel and miscellaneous household items, from a container in CFS, Krishnapatnam in March 2022.

In the same month, 11.7 MT of Red Sanders wood was seized at Mundra port, and smuggled out of India under the guise of "tractor parts" export. DRI seized 9.42 MT of Red Sanders being smuggled out of India under the guise of exporting "cast iron pipes" from ICD Tughlakabad, Delhi, in December 2021.

DRI examined an export container at ICD Piyala, Haryana, in November 2021, and discovered 9.98 MT of Red Sanders wood being smuggled out of India under the guise of "Iron & Brass Builder Hardware items." Following up on the initial investigation, another container was examined at the Nhava Sheva Port, and 12.16 MT of Red Sanders wood was recovered.

Another container, which had sailed out of Nhava Sheva port bound for Sanshui, China, was also recalled from the high seas, and its search yielded 12.03 MT of Red Sanders wood.

In a single coordinated operation, a total of 34.17 MT of Red Sanders wood was seized, with an estimated value of over Rs. 27 crores in the international market. DRI is committed to continuing its ruthless crackdown on those attempting to jeopardise India's economic frontiers and plunder her rich natural heritage.

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