GANGTOK- A BSF jawan, a Sikkim Police constable and three others were arrested with elephant tusk ( ivory ) by Kurseong Forest Department on Thursday, official sources said.
According to police sources, five tusk smugglers were arrested by the State Forest Department’s Wildlife Crime Control Bureau’s (SSB) No. 41 Battalion and Tukriajhar range officials on Thursday afternoon.
Sources in the police informed that among the arrested ones are Darjeeling’s Riwaz Pradhan is a constable in the Sikkim Police and Kalchini resident Tapan Thapa a BSF jawan. The other three are Prabhu Munda, Dharam Das and Riyan Kharia. The international market value of the 1 kg recovered ivory tusks is around Rs 15 lakh.
According to the police sources, the ivory tusk was supposed to change hands at the Naxalbari bus stand. But the five ivory tusk smugglers were intercepted by the police and they were caught red-handed, and subsequently, the ivory tusk was recovered during the search operation. According to the forest department officials, the body of a toothless elephant was recovered in the Sankosh river this month.
Forest officials believe that the elephant was killed first, then the teeth were fenced off and the corpse was floated in the river. The forest department officials speculated that the recovered ivory tusk was brought from Alipurduar via Darjeeling to Naxalbari for smuggling purposes. “The incident is being investigated.
Whether anyone else is involved in the incident is also being probed,” Rajneesh Kumar, an officer of the state forest department’s wildlife crime control bureau, said. The arrested ones are being produced in Siliguri court. The police will seek remand of the arrested accused for interrogation.