Three Held for Running Ivory Smuggling Racket in Jajpur

The state crime branch’s Special Task Force (STF) on Friday busted an ivory smuggling racket operating from Odisha’s Jajpur district, apprehending the three masterminds behind the racket. Three tusks were seized from the possession of the poachers. Notably, this is the second such case of smuggling of elephant tusks, a prized product in the underworld market, within the last week.

Based on a tip-off, the STF personnel raided a place near Kantabandha Chhak near Brahmani bridge in Jajpur and arrested Pitabas Barik, Ananda Mohakud and Ambuja Pradhan for allegedly trying to sell the tusks. The criminals intended to sell the tusks for a price tag of approximately four lakh each. Despite their efforts, the cops have not been able to catch the customers of such illegal products.

“We are trying to find out the source from where they received the tusks. They appeared to be the middlemen. During the investigation, we will try to identify the other members of the syndicate, including the poachers,” STF’s deputy inspector general J N Pankaj said.

The probe agency has filed a case under sections 379 (theft) and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. The Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun will examine the tusk samples that will be sent to them to perform further forensic analysis.

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