With such large sums of money involved smugglers will not care about broader issues. Those who purchase the illegal sandalwood must bear some responsibility for the trade. Without buyers there would be no market.
In October 2013 two Air India employees suspended on smuggling charges and a probe ordered.
The sandalwood trees are slow-growing meaning the black market trade is devastating forests. Sandalwood is used is some male and female perfumes. It is also used in aromatherapy and herbal medicine. But it is also widely used in various religions including Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism.
The trees are part of the genus Santalum and part of the same botanical family as European mistletoe.
Commercial trees are harvested in Western Australia and aborigines of that country traditionally eat the fruit of the tree and its nuts.
Read more about sandalwood and its smuggling here