The Nhava Sheva Customs foiled an attempt to smuggle 40,000kg of red sanders in three containers.
Red sanders is rare wood protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act. Valued around Rs 4 crore, the smugglers had declared the consignment as paperboard and shipped the same to
Dubai evading the authorities. Timely information led officials to recall the containers before they could reach the hands of syndicate members in Dubai.
The containers will arrive in the next few days, a senior Customs official said.
The smugglers had used a duplicate Central Excise department seal to avoid checking by Customs officials.
The official said the smugglers bring red sanders from the border of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to the outskirts of Mumbai. The wood is then kept illegally in warehouses.
The syndicate members then bring containers which contain legitimate goods stuffed in factories in the presence of excise officials, the official said, adding that the legitimate goods are replaced with red sanders by opening the Central Excise seal.
They then put a duplicate seal, the official said.
As part of the golden jubilee celebrations of Customs Act, 1962 the intelligence wing of the department at Nhava Sheva has stepped up anti-smuggling activities to prevent smuggling of red sanders.