The Pune city police on Friday arrested a person in possession of a sand boa snake. The suspect has been identified as Jitendra Ankush Vasulkar (22), a resident of Shirwal in Satara district.
Acting on a tip-off to police constable Suraj Shedge of Khadak police station, a police team with the help of Forest department staff laid a trap and nabbed Vasulkar at Nehru Chowk in Shukrawar Peth.
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During searches, cops recovered a sand boa snake from Vasulkar’s bag. The four-feet-long sand boa weighing three kilograms was handed over to the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park in Katraj.
Police said that sand boa (Eryx johnii), commonly known as Mandul, is a non- venomous snake protected under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Its trade is illegal.
Meanwhile, Vaibhav Babar has lodged an FIR with the Khadak police station. During interrogation, Vasulkar said he got the sand boa snake in a farm in Shirwal area. He told the police that Sand boas are used by chemical and pharmaceutical companies for making medicines.
It is, however, being probed whether Vasulkar is linked to any racket involved in illegal trade of wild animals. Police are also investigating whether he was looking for a customer in Pune to sell the sand boa to and whether any local person was helping him. Police produced Vasulkar before a magistrate court today. The court remanded him to police custody until October 24 for further investigation.
Dr. Ankush Dubey of Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park said that the seized sand boa is being given treatment. “There is a superstition that possessing a big sand boa snake brings good luck and financial gains,” he said. Dubey appealed to people not to believe in any such superstitions.
Last month, the Bharati Vidyapeeth police had arrested a suspect Vishal Sudhakar Mate (25), resident of Kalewadi in Purandar, for possession of a four-feet-long sand boa snake.