Excise dept foils smuggling bid of willow clefts

Jammu: An alleged attempt to smuggle out over 4,500 pieces of willow cleft has been foiled by the Jammu and Kashmir Excise Department sleuths after they seized a truck-load of wood at the Lakhanpur toll plaza in Kathua district, the agency said today.
Acting on specific information, the Excise Department sleuths stopped a truck, alleged to have fake registration number and carrying basmati rice, at the toll plaza, an ED spokesperson said.
The vehicle was reportedly carrying a consignment of basmati rice being sent by Sunstar Overseas Ltd of Jammu to Sunstar Overseas Ltd in Karnal in Haryana yesterday, he said.
The truck stopped at the toll plaza and was checked physically, during which 4,590 pieces of willow clefts, used to making cricket bats, were recovered from the vehicle, he added.
This is the second attempt to smuggle the willow clefts out of Jammu and Kashmir by the ED team at the toll post at Lakhanpur, he said.
The truck driver, named Vikram Singh, along with seized willow clefts had been apprehended and later handed over to the Jammu and Kashmir police at Lakhanpur police station for further probe.
Few days ago, the Excise Department sleuths had thwarted an attempt to smuggle out willow clefts.
Excise Commissioner Javed Khan appreciated the role of Vishesh Paul Mahajan, who after joining as Deputy Excise Commissioner at Toll Post Lakhanpur, has thwarted the smuggling attempt of willow clefts.