New Delhi: In a major haul, 487 kg of ivory worth about Rs.19.5 crore was seized during a raid at a house in the national capital, a Kerala forest official said here on Monday.
The 12-hour raid was carried out in collaboration with Delhi Police and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, following revelation by an ivory trader, Umesh Agarwal, who was arrested last week, the official told IANS while requesting anonymity.
“The recovered ivory artefacts, stashed in 39 boxes and weighed 487 kg, were for sale in Delhi and Mumbai markets,” he said. “There are clear indications that a part of the contraband was also intended for foreign markets.”
During investigations, Agarwal confessed to the officials of having hidden ivory and ivory-made articles in a rented house in east Delhi’s Vijay Park area in Laxmi Nagar.
“Once the presence of ivory in a secret location was confirmed, a team was formed and moved to Delhi on the night of October 10. Next day (Sunday), with the help of Delhi Police, a trap was laid and the rented room was raided,” the official said.
As per the official, a processed artefact made of elephant tusk could cost anything up to Rs.4,00,000 per kilogram.
Terming the “Operation Shikar” as one of the biggest raids of the department, the forest official said, “Agarwal was arrested last week in Delhi and then Eagle Rajan, a link who used to provide tusks to Agarwal, was arrested at the Thiruvananthapuram airport.”
“It was then we launched the massive raids in collaboration with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and Delhi Police,” he added.