Updated: December 8, 2021 10:40:26 am
The Crime Branch of the Pimpri Chinchwad police has arrested two persons and seized around 550 grams of ambergris, also known as “whale vomit”, worth over Rs 1.1 crore which they had smuggled and were trying to sell in Pune.
A team from the Unit 1 of the Crime Branch had received intel on December 6 that a person was coming to an area near Moshi Toll booth to sell ambergris. A trap was set up and a decoy customer was sent to purchase the substance.
A man identified as John Sunil Sathe (33), a resident of Gorewadi in Nashik Road, was detained. Police recovered 550 grams of a red-brownish substance from his possession, which upon preliminary test conducted by forest department officials, turned out to be ambergris. Officials have said that the seized substance is worth around Rs 1.1 crore in the illegal market. Sathe was then arrested.
Following interrogation, police then arrested Ajit Hukumchand Bagmar (61), a resident of Karanja in Nashik, from whom Sathe had bought the ambergris. The Crime Branch has also launched a manhunt for a third suspect who is said to have sent the ambergris to Bagmar by courier.
A First Information Report in the case was registered at Bhosri MIDC police station under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Ambergris, which means grey amber in French, is a waxy substance that originates from the digestive system of the protected Sperm Whales and is thus referred to as “whale vomit”. The rare item is extremely expensive and is used for making high-end perfumes, and is thus sometimes referred to as floating gold. The Sperm Whales are a protected species under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act and possession or trade of any of its by-products, including ambergris, is illegal.
In August, the Pune Division of the Forest Department had arrested six persons and seized 3 kg of ambergris from them.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.