Seven men who were allegedly part of an international racket in the smuggling of wildlife articles have been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in Delhi and Nagpur. The agency has purportedly seized tiger, leopard and other skins and body parts from the accused.

While developing a lead provided by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau on a gang smuggling wildlife products, the CBI zeroed in on the suspects. Acting on a specific tip-off, the agency sleuths carried out a search in a general coach of the Yashwantpur-Hazrat Nizamuddin Sampark Kranti Express near Nagpur railway station on November 5. The team seized two tiger skins, tiger bones and teeth that were concealed in the clothes carried by five alleged members of the gang, identified as Charan Dass, Amit Kumar, Ranjit, Sadhu and Ram Saroop. Subsequently they were arrested.

During interrogation, the accused disclosed the names of the others involvement in the racket. At their instance, the CBI arrested two other accused, Tashi Tshering and Tashi Ladoe in the Capital and purportedly seized two leopard skins, seven otter skins and red sandalwood from them.

Investigations revealed that the gang was engaged in procuring wildlife articles, particularly tiger and leopard skins and body parts, from poachers operating in different parts of the country. The gang had been smuggling out the articles to neighbouring countries.

The CBI is now trying to track down the poachers from whom the accused had bought the wildlife articles. The other members of the gang have also been identified and efforts are on to arrest them with the assistance of WCCB.

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