Mumbai

Malad man with leopard, tiger skins, elephant tusks arrested

Prize catch: The items seized from accused Shantaram Jadhav in Thane.

Prize catch: The items seized from accused Shantaram Jadhav in Thane.  

Items collectively worth ₹45 lakh; police suspect an inter-State smuggling racket

A resident of Malad, who was allegedly found to be in possession of tiger, leopard skins and elephant tusks collectively worth ₹45 lakh, was arrested in Thane on Wednesday.

According to Thane Crime Branch officers, the accused has been identified as Shantaram Jadhav (37), a resident of New Mahakali Nagar, Malad. Mr. Jadhav was nabbed on the basis of a tip-off received by the anti-extortion cell earlier this week.

“We had received information that the accused was dealing in legally banned items obtained from preying on wildlife, and set a trap. On Wednesday, we intercepted Mr. Jadhav at Balkum in Majiwada, Thane. We searched the bags he was carrying and found a leopard skin, a tiger skin, a long lizard, and two elephant tusks. The items collectively are worth ₹45 lakh in the black market” a Crime Branch officer said.

The officer said Mr. Jadhav was arrested and an offence was registered against him at the Kapurbawdi police station under the Wildlife Protection Act.

“Prima facie, Mr. Jadhav seems to be part of an inter-State racket. Items like elephant tusks are not easily available in Maharashtra. They are found in select States, from where they are smuggled all over the country. The fact that Mr. Jadhav was in possession of several items that are available in different parts of the country indicate that this racket is not limited to any one location. The blatant way in which he was carrying the items also leads us to suspect that this is not the first time he has transported the illegal items,” an officer who is part of the investigation said.

Mr. Jadhav is now being interrogated about the source of the items and the people he was intending to sell them to. The police said typically, such rackets operate on an “as-per-order” basis, where agents collect orders from interested parties and then procure the required items.

“We suspect Mr. Jadhav was operating as an agent and was in touch with a wide range of people in several States, who act as conduits to help procure the items. We have some leads and are working on them,” the officer said.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 5:40:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/malad-man-with-leopard-tiger-skins-elephant-tusks-arrested/article27154456.ece

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