Jalpaiguri: Forest department officials and police have arrested 4 persons including a civil engineer from Jalpaiguri on the charges of ivory smuggling. Acting on a tip off, some of the senior forest department officials conducted raids at Belakoba range under Baikunth Nagar division and arrested them. Ivory pieces weighing around 4 kg have been recovered from their possession. The arrested persons have been identified as Sunil Roy, Vishnu Roy, Sitanath Roy and Mongola Roy.
According to police, Sunil is a civil engineer and a resident of Ananda Nagar area in Moinaguri. During the interrogation, police have come to know that he has been into this illegal business for quite sometime. They also came to know that Vishnu is a resident of Dhubri area in Assam. Sitanath is also from Dhubguri while Mongola hails from Moynaguri.”We have found pieces of ivory from a bag. The smugglers said they were going to hand it over to some other persons,” said a forest department official.
According to the preliminary investigation, police and forest department officials suspect that the arrested persons got the ivory pieces from somewhere else. They are also investigating whether the poachers had killed elephants in nearby forests and packed the tusks in boxes. The investigators suspect that the accused were trying to smuggle the pieces of ivory to some other countries, including Bhutan.
Police and forest department officials are also probing to ascertain if the arrested persons are a part of any international smuggling racket. Police are yet to confirm the place, where the ivory consignment was supposed to be delivered. There may a possibility that the ivory pieces would have been taken to China or Bhutan. It may be mentioned here that Bhutan has become a hub for this wildlife trade. North Bengal has turned into a safe corridor for wildlife smugglers and it is a gateway to Bhutan. A strong nexus has formed between wildlife smugglers in Bhutan and India.