In a major breakthrough the jawans of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) seized red sandalwood worth Rs 9 crore from Jitupara Village at Rajgang in Siliguri late Thursday night.
According to a spokesperson of SSB, jawans of its 41st battalion conducted raid acting on a tip off and found a huge quantity of red sandalwood stocked in a house.
They arrested a member of the racket Siddiqui. After interrogating him, the SSB jawans came to know about the kingpin of the racket, Sayed Ibrahim.
Sayad Ibrahim is originally a resident of Manar in Chennai. He was arrested a hotel at Pradhan Nagar in Darjeeling. According to the senior officers this is a big catch as the racket had been operating for many years in the area.
But they had given a slip to the investigating agencies when raids were conducted earlier. The accused will be interrogated to get information about the other members. The demand for red sandalwood is always high as it has immense medicinal value.
At the same time it is also a good material to make musical instruments. It is also in high demand to make luxury furniture.
There are a section of people those reside near the jungle area, who risk their lives to enter the forest to cut red sandalwood. They often get caught by the security personnel.
The investigating officers are also trying to find out whether the accused also had any connection with the underground international market.