Altogether 8,000 kg of sandalwood amounting to over Rs 24 crore was seized from Arundhutinagar Industrial Estate in West Tripura on Tuesday Credit: EastMojo image

Agartala: At least 8,000 kg of sandalwood amounting to over Rs 24 crore (as per some estimate) were seized from Arundhutinagar Industrial Estate area in a joint operation led by Border Security Force (BSF), Tripura forest department, police and civil administration.

Speaking with EastMojo, West Tripura district forest officer Shakti Kant Singh said that they received information from the BSF confirming that something illegal was stored inside a room in the Arundhutinagar Industrial Estate area.

“We did a joint operation and the police were also called so that the law and order situation in the area remains under control. When we went inside along with Sadar deputy collector, we saw a room full of sandalwood. We will check whether it’s legal after the seizure,” Singh said.

He also said that as of now nobody has come forward with legal papers to claim the seized items.

“Prima facie, it has been found to be illegal. Around 8,000 kg of sandalwood worth over Rs 10 crore was seized,” Singh added.

He also said that after test if the sandalwood is found to be of high quality, it can go up to Rs 24 crore. It will be processed and tested in the lab. Only after that, we can get more details of the seizure.

The sandalwood was stored in an abandoned godown in Arundhutinagar Industrial Estate

“Four persons were found to be engaged as outsourced security guards. They did not have the keys. The owner, who is the authorised signatory for DS Group, has not come here yet,” Singh added.

Also Read: Tripura CM demands revision of fund-sharing pattern for NE states

Speaking with EastMojo, BSF DIG Ashok Kumar Yadav said that they had specific information and the doors were locked. After entering the shop, it was found that a room full of sandalwood was stored.

The BSF has been guarding 556 km international border along Bangladesh in Tripura and efforts are being made to stop illegal trade of items.

In a separate operation launched by BSF in the wee hours of February 24 acting on specific intelligence inputs, troops of border outpost Lankamura under in West Tripura district observed suspicious movement of a person, who was trying to throw plastic bags over the IBB fence.

On being challenged, the person fled from the spot towards the India side taking advantage of darkness. During a thorough search of the area, three plastic bags containing 6,000 yaba tablets worth Rs 30 lakh were recovered. The seized contraband items were handed over to the excise department in Agartala.

In another operation, BSF troops and the police recovered 2,000 yaba tablets worth Rs10 lakh from the possession of a man while frisking him at Agartala check post.

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