Smugger thrives under cops’ nose

KAVRE: Red sandalwood smugglers had a field day, thanks to lax security during Dashain.

The festival was an ideal foil for them to smuggle red sandalwood to neighbouring Sindupalchowk district. They decamped with the booty via the Araniko Highway.

According to a source, large quantities of the precious forest resource have been stashed away at various locales in Sindupalchowk. Allegations are rife that the police are hand-in-glove with the smugglers.

Records revealed that three truck-load of sandalwood found their way to Sindupalchowk on September 28 when Dashain was at its peak. The security was lenient on the auspicious occasion of Vijaya Dashami.

The contraband, which managed to evade more than a dozen police check posts on the way, was stored at safe houses in Jalbire and Balefi.

The source claimed that the smugglers chose these locations since a joint Nepal Police and Armed Police Force team had beefed up security at Aadheri check post.

It is believed a large consignment, which is bound for China via the northern border after Tihar, has been hidden in the capital and adjoining Bhaktapur as well.

A policeman at the check post in Barahabise, however, denied such wrong doing.

Be that as it may, it is a common knowledge that red sandalwood finds it way to China via Sindupalchowk.

The Sindupalchowk police feigned ignorance even though a fresh consignment passed through the district last night as well. Smugglers are allegedly planning to ferry 20 trucks of sandalwood to China before the upcoming Tihar festival.

Kavre DSP Sandeep Bhandari claimed that security was tightened to prevent smuggling.

But the ground reality suggests otherwise.