Animal skin sales racket busted, three arrested
- HT Correspondent (New Delhi, April 25)
WITH THE seizure of eleven tiger and panther skins the Central district police claimed to have busted a racket in sale of animal skins. The destination of these skins, estimated to be worth Rs 22
lakh, has not been ascertained as yet.
The police believe that some royal families in Uttar Pradesh were trying to dispose off these skins through some persons who were posing as property dealers. Of the eleven skins recovered, five are head mounted. Three persons who were arrested in this connection were identified as Pankaj Sarin, Virender Gupta and Navin Saxena.
"Though the accused pleaded that they are first timers, it is possible that they had been carrying out this trade for a long time in the garb of property dealers," said Uday Sahay, DCP Central.
"This is a significant seizure, though it is difficult to say whether the skins were headed for the international market," said Manoj Kumar Mishra, Director, WWF. "In some recent seizures, the animal skins were fresh and on the way to Nepal and even Tibet. In this case, since the skins are processed, it seems that someone wanted to dispose them off."
The police received a tip off that some persons who were in possession of animal skins would attempt to sell them. Investigations revealed that on April 24, the accused would begin their journey from Nizamuddin carrying two tiger skins in a Maruti Gypsy. They would then proceed to Laxmi Nagar to pick up more skins.
A team of officials, comprising SI Vivek Pathak, HC Om Prakash, Constables Rajesh and Sunder
Gautam, intercepted them at 5.30 pm and the animal skins were recovered. It was revealed that a deal of Rs two lakh per skin had been struck by the accused to dispose off the skins.
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