Imphal: Red sandalwood worth Rs 3 crore at the internation market was seized from the residential complex of a former MLA in Imphal West district, official sources said here on Tuesday.

Acting on a tip-off, a team of Special Intelligence Unit (SIU) of Manipur led by inspector Ranjit Singh raided the house of former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Salam Joy at Samurou Awang Leikai area on Monday and found the red sandalwoods at his courtyard, sources said.

They said Anand Prasad (32), a resident of Balia (Uttar Pradesh) and Shiva Bihari of Rotash district (Bihar) were arrested in this connection and a case was registered under CrPC section 102 (unclaimed property).

The police said the consignment was meant to be smuggled to China, Joy and his family members were not present at the time of the seizure.

Sources said the approximate cost of the expensive wood, found in three trucks, was calculated to be about Rs 3 crores as it was sold between Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 per kilogram at Myanmar border by Indian traders.

The police said the red sandalwood was smuggled from the jungles of Andhra Pradesh for allegedly smuggling to China where it was in high demand through border town of Moreh in Manipur and neighbouring Tamu town in Myanmar en route to Chinese border in upper Myanmar.

The main person involved in the smuggling of the expensive wood was identified as Md Arif Khan, a resident of Tamil Nadu, police said adding that this was the first time that Manipur police intercepted such a large consignment of red sandalwood.

(Agencies)

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