Seized tortoises handed over to Forest Department
Nagpur: The Local Crime Branch (LCB) unit of Government Railway Police (GRP) seized 100 live tortoises from 22404 New Delhi-Pondicherry Express from two persons on June 1, 2015.
The cops arrested the duo smugglers in this connection. According to sources, the GRP officials received a confidential tip-off that some people are smuggling live tortoise. So the personnel of Local Crime Branch (LCB) unit launched a search operation on the train standing on platform No-2 of Nagpur Railway Station at 6:20 pm.
The cops noticed a strange smell in Coach No S-9 and recovered 100 tortoises kept in the four luggage bags. The police personnel immediately seized the bags and arrested two persons identified as Shivkumar Sidhrangu aged 25 years and Barabas Chandrababu aged 28 years and both residents of Karnataka.
A police officer of the Local Crime Branch (LCB) unit informed that on initial questioning, the accused claimed that they boarded the train at Jhansi Railway Station and were going to Guntur to deliver the consignment of live tortoise to some traders.
The police personnel claimed that the trade of tortoise is prohibited according to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The GRP has handed over the tortoises to the Forest Department so it could be kept alive. Some tortoises died during the journey, claimed the police officer.
The accused along with one unidentified person had taken a flight from Chennai and had reached Lucknow on Saturday, May 30, 2105. They purchased the live tortoises from Jhansi and then boarded the train. However, the main accused had chosen not to board the train.
Under the guidance of Superintendent of Police (SP, GRP) Anant Rokde, the LCB staff including Narendra Chowdhary, Santosh Chowbey, Viraj Matte, Omprakash Selote, Shivanand Nagre and Pravin Rambhal had carried out the search and the arrest of the accused. Meanwhile, a Vigilance Squad of the Forest Department, Seminary Hills under the leadership of Acting Divisional Forest Officer (Vigilance) Kewal Dongre and Range Forest Officer (Mobile Squad) D B Wagh, brought the tortoises and kept both the accused in forest custody at SeminaryHills. A team of forest-men will produce the accused before JMFC on June 2, 2015. Dongre also informed that the cost of one tortoise is around Rs 5,000.
It could not be known whether the tortoises were being transported for use in the black magic. The operation was conducted under the guidance of Chief Conservator of Forest Shailesh Tembhurnikar. An offence has been registered under relevant sections of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Further investigation is underway