The Madhya Pradesh police busted an inter-state vulture smuggling racket in the state's Khandwa district today as they arrested a 60-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh's Unnao smuggling seven endangered Egyptian vultures from Kanpur to Malegaon in Maharashtra.
Authorities were alerted when passengers in the second class sleeper coach of the Sultanpur-Mumbai Superfast Express complained of a foul smell in their compartment and sound of birds.
A joint team of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and state forest department were pressed into action. The vultures were found in plastic bags after a cordon-and-search of the coach.
"We got a call from the Khandwa RPF that a person has been intercepted with Egyptian vultures. We immediately reached there and a joint team of forest department and the RPF raided the train and arrested Farid Sheikh. We found seven Egyptian vultures from him," Khandwa's senior forest department official Anil Shukla told NDTV.
The man was taken to the police station along with the birds. During interrogation, the smuggler Farid Sheikh said that he was given these vultures at the Kanpur station by Sameer Khan, a resident of the city. Khan had aske him to take the birds to Malegaon and give them to one Hasim.
Sameer Khan had offered Sheikh Rs 10,000 for transporting the vultures.
A case has been registered under the Wildlife Protection Act and the matter has been taken up for investigation. The vultures were handed over to the forest department.