Four poachers arrested with rhinocerous horns, AK-47
Police busted a racket involved in smuggling rhino horns in various parts of the country as well as outside the country.
Acting on a tip-off, the senior forest department officials conducted a raid in the area close to Jalpaiguri National Garden. Police suspect that the firearms were brought from Assam. It was learnt that the forest department officials and police conducted a joint raid and busted the racket. Then they arrested four persons and seized an AK 47 and 46 rounds of ammunition from their possession.
They also arrested the kingpin of the racket, Sanjay Rava from his residence near Midnabari area of Jalpaiguri. During the interrogation the accused have admitted that they were involved in the smuggling racket. Police are yet to ascertain where the accused would smuggle the rhino horns. They, however, suspect that the racket has been operational in the area for quite sometimes.
According to the forest department officials, the rhino horn was weighing around 3.44 kg. After interrogating the accused, the police also came to know about some other persons who have also been involved in the racket. The other persons who have been arrested identified as Lachhu Rava, Subal Rava, Arjun Rava. The accused told the police that they got the firearms from a person from the Chingra area of Assam.
A senior official of the forest department said that some persons have, however, fled the spot during the raid. The security has been beefed up in the forest areas following the incident. The forest officials are also examining the CCTV footages in connection to the incident.
It may be mentioned that the state Forest department had arrested five persons and recovered elephant tusks, skin of leopards and the skull of a bear in Jalpaiguri late last month. The Belakoba range of Baikunthapur forest division had conducted a raid and busted the racket involving smuggling of various valuable items.
The department conducted raids after receiving information from reliable sources that some members of a racket were indulging in smuggling of animal parts in a bid to sell them in the outside market. It was also learnt that these animal parts were brought from various forest areas.
The department also seized two Maruti cars and one live bullet from their possession. The department has seized tusks weighing nearly around 800 grams, skin of leopards and the skull of a bear after intercepting the members of the racket. It is likely that the animals were shot dead by poachers. A government employee was also involved in the racket busted by the Forest department.