KATHMANDU, September 22: The Metropolitan Crime Branch in Baneshwar has arrested four people on the charge of smuggling red sandalwood. The branch arrested the accused with two bags of red sandalwood that weighed more than 21 kg in the form of Damaru (A traditional musical drum).
The four accused were arrested with the bags from a Damaru factory in Bauddha. According to SSP Deepak Thapa of the crime branch, the arrested are Kailash Tamang, Sunil Tamang, Lakhpa Tamang and Om Bahadur Tamang, all from Nuwakot.
The seized sandalwood drums of 16 kg 4 gm and 5 kg 900 gm were handed over to the District Forest Office, Kathmandu. Its value is estimated to be around Rs 186,000.
Om Bahadur Tamang had met a man while working in Delhi. They came back to Nepal and settled in the same factory in Bauddha after the governments of both the countries imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19.
According to the information provided by the crime branch, Om Bahadur said in his statement that the same person had given him two big pieces of Red Sandalwood asking him to make musical drums out of it.
After Om Bahadur’s statement, the investigating officers have found that the four people arrested were involved in the crime only after they were given the responsibility of making drums out of the given red sandalwood. The main person behind the crime is yet to be arrested, police said.
“The red sandalwood may have come from India. It seems that it was brought to Nepal to transport it to a third country,” said SSP Thapa, adding, “Further investigations are underway.”