DRI busts Kolkata-based syndicate operating in wildlife smuggling
By TIOL News Service
NEW DELHI, JULY 31, 2019: IN its relentless drive against smuggling of wildlife and animal body parts, DRI Kolkata busted a syndicate involved in smuggling of Elephant tusks and Tiger teeth. About 12 kgs of elephant tusks and 5 pieces of Tiger teeth cumulatively valued at 1.147 crores were recovered and seized. Three persons were arrested. The recovery and seizure coincided with the Global Tiger day on assuring their contribution to Tiger Conservation campaign # SAVEWILDTIGERS.
Intelligence was developed by DRI that a Kolkata based syndicate headed by One Habibullah was operating in smuggling of elephant tusks, ivory articles and tiger teeth and other animal parts out of India to various countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. The export of animal body parts are prohibited for export under the provisions of Foreign Trade Policy, Customs Act, 1962 read with Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Acting on the intelligence DRI sleuths intercepted Ms Muslima Begum, second wife of Habibullah on 28.07.2019, at Sealdah railway station with two pieces of ELEPHANT TUSKS weighing 4.27 kilograms, which she had brought from Assam, concealed inside her side bag, under the instructions of her husband and was about to hand over the same to her husband in the station itself.
Immediate interrogation of the husband-wife duo and quick follow-up actions resulted in recovery of one piece of Ivory bangle and one piece of ivory from the flat of his son-in-law Adil Hussain in Park Circus area along with Five pieces of TIGER TEETH and Twenty nine pieces of assorted Ivory and some mechanical instruments along with Rs 1, 48,000 in cash were recovered from another flat of Habibullah in Karaya Road. The total seizure by DRI on 28th and 29th of July 2019 was of 11.96 kgs of elephant tusks and Ivory articles and 5 pieces of TIGER TEETH collectively valued at Rs. 1.147 Crores.
Habubullah figured in a number of cases booked by DRI Kolkata, DRI, Siliguri and DRI Guwahati where he had attempted to smuggle out 48.794 kgs of elephant tusks and Ivory statues collectively valued at Rs. 6.014 Crores. While many of his associates were already arrested by DRI, the head of the Syndicate, Habibullah could not be apprehended.
While the elephant tasks fetch lucrative prices in Nepal and Bangladesh, the TIGER teeth are in great demand in China and Myanmar.
All the three apprehended persons were arrested under the provisions of Customs Act, 1962 read with Wildlife(Protection) Act, 1972 and were produced before the CMM, Kolkata on 30.07.2019.