A police team, along with activists of NGO People For Animals, captured three endangered snakes and 600 ml of venom from a Punjab Roadways bus on Wednesday morning.
Sources said Union minister Maneka Gandhi, who is an animal rights activist, had received a tip-off and informed the police about
“The bus was stopped at the Halomajra light point and searched, after which the snakes and venom were found gift wrapped in a brown bag in the luggage compartment,” said sub-inspector R R Sharma of the Mauli Jagran police post.
The snakes, identified as sand boas, are not poisonous and are believed to be harbingers of good luck.
“These are endangered snakes and often smuggled to other continents at exorbitant prices. The cost of the venom could be Rs 10 crore. It is used by drug addicts and in rave parties,” said Saurabh Gupta, a PFA official.
The bus had left New Delhi at 7.15 am and was scheduled to arrive in Chandigarh around noon.
No passenger in the bus identified the bag, while the conductor said he did know how it got there. The police believe someone was supposed to pick it up from the Sector 17 ISBT.
The snakes were later handed over to the UT Forest Department, which said it would release them in their natural habitat.
An FIR has been registered at the Sector 31 police station under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.