Siiliguri: In a major success against wildlife parts smuggling, sleuths of Revenue Intelligence have recovered over 16 kg of ivory worth Rs 1.69 crore in the international market from a place near Siliguri in Bengal, officials said on Thursday.
The incident took place at Ghoshpukur in the outskirts of Siliguri, RI officials said, adding the seizure was made after the RI launched an operation following a tip-off. “The 16.962 kg of elephant tusk ivory were concealed in a black tea laden truck, which was on its way to Kolkata from Assam,” an official said.
“The elephant tusks in four cut pieces were being secretly transported in the said vehicle loaded with consignment of black tea. “On interrogation, the driver of the vehicle confessed that the elephant tusks were handed over to him at Baihata Chariali by one person of Guwahati for transport of the same to Kolkata,” the officials said, quoting the driver.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the tusks were extracted from poached elephants in the forested areas of Assam and were being carried to Kolkata for export to South East Asian countries via Bangladesh,” the official said.
The Indian (Asian) Elephant is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and also listed under Sl no: 12B of Part I of Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
“The elephant tusks valued at about Rs 1.69 crore in the international market have been seized under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 read with the Wildlife Protection Act,” the official added.