A small-time actor from South India, C. Manoharan, and his accomplice N. T. Srinivasulu were arrested with a consignment of crocodiles and snakes at the Nizamuddin railway station here on Tuesday. The deadly consignment was to be delivered to an international buyer.

The duo were caught during a joint operation carried out by non-government organisation People For Animals, Delhi, and Pune-based animal activist Manoj Oswal. The raid was conducted by National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the New Delhi Crime Branch.

About a week ago a tip-off was received by Manoj Oswal from a wildlife enthusiast that a United States-based buyer was in Asia to buy and smuggle out wild animals. A former rival of the buyer provided information on the consignment and its details. It was later confirmed that a consignment of five snakes and two crocodile would be delivered to a buyer in New Delhi.

Investigations revealed that a small time actor and his accomplice were involved in the racket and were delivering the consignment to the buyer. The crocodiles were being sold at 2,000 dollars each and the snakes for 500 dollars each.

“Mr. Oswal immediately contacted animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi who deputed a PFA, Delhi, team to co-ordinate with wildlife officials on this job. Accordingly a trap was laid by the Crime Branch and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau at the Nizamuddin railway station where the seller was arrested along with the reptiles,” said a PFA official, adding that the reptiles have been taken into safekeeping by the Wildlife Department pending release into a suitable habitat.

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