Imphal: Three truckloads of banned red sanders wood worth Rs 3 crore have been seized from a former Manipur legislator`s house, police said on Tuesday.
The logs from the forests of Andhra Pradesh were to be smuggled to Myanmar and then to China, they said.
Acting on a tip-off, a Manipur Police team Monday raided the residence of Salam Joy, a former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator, in Samurou Awang Leika area in Imphal West district and seized the logs worth Rs 3 crore, a senior police officer said.
Joy is on the run after the raid, district police chief Konsam Jayanta Singh said.
He said police were probing the politician`s involvement in the illegal trade.
He said one Md Arif Khan from Tamil Nadu was the prime accused in the timber smuggling.
Red sanders or red sandalwood is prohibited for export and is listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora list. It is a rare flora species endemic to southern India, mainly Andhra Pradesh.
The police officer said the red sanders wood was brought to Manipur from the jungles of Andhra Pradesh.
The officer said that according to intelligence inputs, the red sanders logs were bound for China through Myanmar.
Manipur shares a 400 km of border with Myanmar and part of it is porous, hilly and unfenced, and prone to infiltration and smuggling.
Red sanders wood has a huge demand in China and Japan where it is used for making musical instruments, furniture, medicine and toys.
It is also believed that because of the presence of radioactive elements such as thorium and uranium, red sanders might be used as a coolant in nuclear reactors.