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Two held for trying to sell 550 gm of ambergris worth Rs 1.1 crore

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”.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: December 9, 2021 7:43:41 am
Two held for trying to sell 550 gm of ambergris worth Rs 1.1 croreAmbergris - a rare item - is extremely expensive and is used for making high-end perfumes.

The Pimpri Chinchwad Police’s Crime Branch has arrested two persons and seized at least 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 certain John Sunil Sathe (33) was then detained and 550 grams of a red-brownish substance was recovered from his possession, which upon preliminary test conducted by forest department officials turned out to be ambergris, said police. The seized substance is valued at Rs 1.1 crore in the illegal market, officials said. 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 search for a third suspect who is said to have sent the ambergris to Bagmar by courier.

An FIR 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. Multiple actions have been conducted by investigating agencies across India, including Mumbai, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, in which large quantities of ambergris have been seized.

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