The Pimpri police on Saturday arrested two persons for possessing liquid believed to be snake venom worth Rs 2 crore. The suspects have been identified as Mohammed Salim Shaikh (30), a resident of Goa, and Suresh Kisanrao Kshirsagar (45), a resident of Kolhapur.
Acting on a tip-off to Havaldar Shakir Jenedy, the police laid a trap and nabbed the suspects near a state transport bus stand in Wallabh Nagar on the Pune – Mumbai Road.
The police recovered two bottles containing 1,000-ml liquid. “The suspects told us during interrogation that the liquid was snake venom and it was worth Rs 2 crore in the international market,” officials said.
The duo allegedly brought the liquid from Goa and were about to sell it to someone in Pune. Sources said the police got the samples of the liquid tested at a pharmaceutical firm that makes medicine from snake venom. The firm reportedly told the police that the seized liquid was snake venom.
However, the police would send the samples to a forensic science lab to get official confirmation. Assistant Commissioner of Police Shivaji Shelar said they would hand over the seized liquid to the Forest Department during investigation.
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The role of the two suspects in the snake venom racket is being probed. “Investigation is on to know about those involved in extracting venom from cobras, which has a huge demand among party freaks in several cities in India and even abroad,” police officials said.
Senior Inspector Mohan Vidhate and Sub Inspector Harishchandra Kadam are investigating the case. There are increasing incidents of snake venom seizure across the country. It is suspected that snake venom is sold as a party drug at a very high cost.
In June last year, a team of the Lonavala police had busted a gang of men involved in snake venom trade. The police had arrested eight persons, including a Goa police constable, in the case. The police had seized about two litres of snake venom from the suspects.
In August 2013, the Faraskhana police had arrested two persons hailing from Beed district of Maharashtra for allegedly possessing 500-ml snake venom worth Rs 1 crore.