In a major success against wildlife parts smuggling, Revenue Intelligence investigators have recovered over 16 kg of ivory worth Rs 1.69 crore from a place near Siliguri in West Bengal, officials said on Thursday.
The ivory was seized at Ghoshpukur on the outskirts of Siliguri, Revenue Intelligence officials said. "The 16.962 kg of elephant tusk ivory was hidden in a black tea laden truck, which was on its way to Kolkata from Assam," an official said.
"On interrogation, the driver of the vehicle confessed that the elephant tusks were handed over to him for transport to Kolkata. Preliminary investigation revealed that the tusks were extracted from poached elephants in the forested areas of Assam and were being carried to Kolkata for export to South East Asian countries via Bangladesh," he added.
The Indian (Asian) Elephant is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and also listed under Sl no: 12B of Part I of Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
"The elephant tusks valued at about Rs 1.69 crore in the international market have been seized under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 read with the Wildlife Protection Act," the official added.