New Delhi [India], January 27 (ANI): In a joint operation, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Karnataka Forest Department have recovered 139 animals belonging to 48 different species, including 34 that were listed species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) from a farmhouse in Bengaluru, officials said.
In a statement, DRI mentioned that acting on specific intelligence, DRI officers intercepted three passengers including a lady passenger, who had arrived from Bangkok at the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru on January 22.
"An examination of their checked-in baggage resulted in the recovery of non-indigenous 18 animals (four primates and 14 reptiles) with the assistance of Karnataka Forest Department officials," the statement said.
Ten of these were also included in Appendix II of CITES; The import of wild animals (including their parts and products) as defined in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (as amended from time to time) is prohibited and those species which are listed in CITES are subject to the provisions of CITES, the statement further read.
All the passengers caught for smuggling animals were apprehended under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 by the DRI officials.
According to the DRI statement neither any documents evidencing the licit import of the wildlife items nor any filings under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (Wildlife Division), Voluntary Disclosure Scheme till its extended deadline of March 2021 were recovered from the passengers.
However, pieces of evidence of financial transactions to source Non-indigenous wildlife through the route of smuggling, buy - sell transactions on WhatsApp and other social media platforms have been unearthed, the statement mentioned.
The DRI further stated that the recovered animals include extremely rare and threatened ones like the Yellow and Green Anaconda, Yellow-headed amazon parrot, Nile Monitor, Red foot tortoise, Iguanas, Ball Pythons, Alligator Gar, Yaki Monkey, Veiled Chameleon, Racoon Dog, White-headed pionus etc. handed over to Bannerghatta Biological Park.
Four people involved in the smuggling into India have also been placed under arrest, so far, the statement said.
Further investigations into the matter are underway, the DRI officials said. (ANI)