Two men were allegedly trying to sell 1.3 kg “whale vomit” or ambergris, produced in the digestive system of sperm whales. This species of the whale is endangered and protected under the Wildlife Act.
Police arrested the duo on Tuesday. The accused were identified as 52-year-old Rahul Tupare and Gujarat resident Lalit Vyas. According to police, this consignment was valued at Rs 1.7 crore, but the source of the product was not clear as yet.
Police said ambergris is highly valuable as it is perfume fixative found floating in the seas and is in high demand in the international markets, especially Dubai.
On a tip-off received by Sub-Inspector M Khandare from Ghatkopar police station on Saturday, police laid a trap and detained Tupare.
Police said Tupare was found in possession of ambergris and was arrested for further interrogation. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone VII) Akhilesh Singh said, “During the course of the interrogation, the accused gave us the name of Vyas. Following this, we arrested Vyas as well.”
An officer said Vyas was from Kutch in Gujarat and told them that even he had got the substance elsewhere. Singh said police are in the process of tracing the buyer.
“Ambergris is illegally exported to Dubai where it is sold at higher rate. It is also associated with good luck,” an officer said.
In 2018, the Thane Crime Branch had arrested three persons in alleged possession of ambergris.