New Delhi: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) said on Monday that it has apprehended seven persons for allegedly smuggling two elephant tusks weighing 4.03 kg worth Rs 7.19 crore.
“Based on specific intelligence inputs received by the Chennai unit of DRI that a few persons were planning to illegally sell elephant tusks covered under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, a surveillance was conducted which led to the arrest of seven persons, said a DRI officer. Two tusks wighing 4.03 kg were recovered from their possession.
As per the latest amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act, which became operational from April 1, 2023, officers of Customs are authorised to seize any offending contraband under Section 50 (1)(c) of the WPA, 2023.
“As only forest officers can file a cognisable complaint under Section 55 of WPA in Tamil Nadu, the seized contraband, vehicle used for the offence and the offenders have been handed over to the Chief Wildlife Warden for further necessary action,” the DRI officer said.
He added that this was the first of its kind case wherein the DRI has handled a domestic wildlife case using the new powers given to Customs officers.