The PUNE City Police’s Crime Branch on Saturday seized “carved” elephant tusks valued at Rs 80 lakh which a man had smuggled to Pune. The 50-year-old suspect who is from Telangana, has been identified as Bhima Bogria Mudavat.
The Crime Branch Unit II received a tip-off that a person was coming to Pune to sell elephant tusks. A trap was laid and Mudavat, who is from Kollapur in Telangana, was detained. The police team found four carved ivory tusks in his bag.
After primary confirmation from the Forest Department officials that the seized objects were ivory, an offence under the Wildlife (Protection) Act was registered. The value of the seized ivory in the illegal international market is said to be more than Rs 80 lakh.
Inspector Gajanan Pawar, who led the Crime Branch team, said. “The seized tusks seem to be old and the suspect was trying to sell them as antiques. We have launched a probe into the source of the seized tusks and also the buyer. We are also probing where there is any organised group behind this trade.”
He added, “The arrested suspect does not have any known criminal record in Maharashtra that we know of till now. We are inquiring with other states. He is from Telangana and has been coming to Pune. He has told us that he is a mason but we have reason to believe it is not the only thing that he does.”
In a related development in June, the Sinhagad Road police station had arrested four persons who were trying to sell elephant tusks. The value of the seized ivory in illegal international market was at least Rs 3.5 crore, police said.