Pune City Police arrested three people in connection with the smuggling of red sandalwood, which is a prohibited item for export and also covered by the Convention’s list on International Trade in Species of Fauna and Wildlife. endangered wild flora (CITES). Police identified the defendants as Alen Waghmare (25), Rohit Rudrap (20) and Vicky Sabale (19).
Acting on a whistleblower, a Crime Branch team intercepted a tempo at the Loni Kalbhor toll booth on the Pune Solapur road. During the searches, the police recovered 270 kg of red sandalwood worth Rs 27 lakh in the vehicle. Police seized the red sandalwood with the vehicle. Police arrested his driver Sabale and his assistant Rudrap, who were also present in the vehicle.
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During a further investigation, police arrested Waghmare, who allegedly supplied the banned red sandalwood to Sabale and Rudrap. Police also informed the state forestry department of the seizure.
Police suspect that the defendants intended to sell red sandalwood to some people in the Loni Kalbhor area. The three men were arrested under articles of the Indian Penal Code and articles of the Forest Conservation Rules and the Forest Conservation Act. An investigation is underway to find out where the seized red sandalwood was brought to Pune and whether other people were involved in the racketeering.