New Delhi, May 27 (PTI) The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized 24 pieces of ivory weighing about six kilograms collectively from two persons, including a contractual employee of the railways, near the Guwahati Railway Station. Also Read - Poll Dates Announced For 5 Assemblies, Mamata Questions EC | All Major Election Developments in 10 Points
The duo was to smuggle out the ivory to Nepal. Also Read - Day After Mamata Banerjee's Pillion Ride, Smriti Irani Drives A Scooter | See Pictures
It has been confirmed by wildlife officials that the tusks were extracted after killing at least five adult and subadult elephants. Since the ivory has been sourced from Hojai, it is believed that the elephants were in all likelihood killed in the Karbi Anglong region of Assam, the DRI said in a statement issued today. Also Read - West Bengal Polls: Mamata Banerjee Hikes Minimum Wage For Workers Hour Before MCC Sets in
The interception took place yesterday as the recipient of the ivory, Suraj Kumar Das, hailing from West Bengal was in the process of receiving the package from one Mohammad Badrul Hussain, hailing from Hojai district of Assam, it said.
Das is working as a coach attendant of Saraighat Express, the agency said.
Interrogation of the two has revealed that Hussain had picked up the package containing ivory from a person at Hojai and was supposed to deliver it to Das for subsequent smuggling to Nepal through another person based in New Jalpaiguri, it said.
It is a known fact that endangered species are regularly slaughtered for their parts especially because of the rising demand in the international market, the DRI said.
The market value of about six kilograms of ivory is around Rs 35 lakh.
The DRI had seized about 12.4 kgs of ivory from a bus at Siliguri on February 15 this year. In this case too, the ivory was sourced from Lakhimpur district of Assam.
Further investigation to unearth the masterminds behind the gang of poachers and smugglers of animal parts is underway, the probe agency said.
There is an urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has environmental, social and economic ramifications, and a concerted effort is the need of the hour, it added.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.