Trucks carrying sandalwood ‘headed for Tatopani’

Kavre CDO suspects involvement of police, revenue investigation officer

Kavre, June 14:

Two trucks carrying 14 tonnes of sandalwood crossed the Kavre border through Dhulikhel, the district headquarters of Kavre, last night, officials said, adding that the trucks were apparently bound for Tatopani.

An officer at the Dhulikhel-based temporary Public Revenue Investigation Office (PRIO), Krishna Basnet, and deputy superintendent of police at the Kavre district police office Mahendra Pokhrel informed chief district officer of Kavre Sitaram Pokhrel that two vans carrying red sandalwood passed through last night.

“The trucks carrying red sandalwood left Dhulikhel before we reached there,” CDO Pokhrel quoted DSP Pokhrel.

A police team reportedly started patrolling the area only after the vans crossed Dhulikhel at 8 pm.

DSP Pokhrel, however, claimed that no vehicle passed through Dhulikhel after the police started patrolling there.

Unlike other days, the PRIO officer Basnet stayed at the office last night. On other days, Krishna used to leave for Kathmandu after office hours.

Basnet told the CDO that he “stayed at the office yesterday.” No vehicle that passed through from 7:00 pm yesterday till 05:00 am today was registered at the public revenue investigation office, indicating that some hankypanky was indeed going on. CDO Pokhrel said it was impossible to smuggle out red sandalwood without the collusion with police and officials of the PRIO.

In another incident, a vehicle (registration number Na 2 Kha 3848) carrying red sandalwood returned from the Bhaktapur border, said assistant CDO Govinda Sapkota. Eyewitnesses said red sandalwood smugglers paid Rs 50,000 each on the nights of Monday and Wednesday to assistant sub-inspector Basu Khadka at Sanga based police post. Khadka reportedly went to see DSP Pokhrel after getting the money.

Meanwhile, the Kavre district administration office has decided to step up checking of cargo trucks and containers plying the Arniko Highway in Kavre following a surge in the smuggling of red sandalwood.

The decision was made at an emergency meeting of the joint monitoring committee, formed to check smuggling of red sandalwood. Assistant CDO Sapkota said a checkpost will be set up in front of the Public Revenue Investigation Office. Vehicles will be subjected to round-the-clock checking.

CDO Pokhrel said the monitoring committee will be activated to check smuggling of red sandalwood.

Another haul

SARLAHI: The police seized a truck carrying 191 logs of red sandalwood in Gaurishankar VDC-9 of Sarlahi on Thursday, a police inspector at the Sarlahi District Police Office, KP Sharma, said. The red sandalwood was smuggled into Nepal from India through the Tribhuvannagar customs po-int, a source said. — HNS