Srinagar: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a wildlife smuggling racket in Kashmir Valley by arresting eight persons including a cop involved in the illegal trade.
An official handout said that an operation was launched by the DRI after it developed specific intelligence over a period of time that a few gangs in Srinagar are involved in the illegal wildlife trade and were searching for prospective buyers for the sale of leopard skins.
After getting inputs, the DRI worked out a detailed to apprehend the members of the gangs and subsequently officers of its Mumbai Zonal Unit (Goa Regional Unit), posing as buyers, reached Srinagar.
“After several rounds of negotiations, the sellers brought the first skin of a leopard to a pre-designated place in Srinagar near Dalgate. Officers on surveillance intercepted a person who was carrying a leopard skin near the designated place. On the basis of his information, another accomplice was also intercepted at a public place in Srinagar,” the handout states.
After securing the first catch, the DRI officers posing as buyers continued rounds of intense negotiations with another gang of sellers.
“After overnight negotiations, the sellers finally agreed to bring three leopard skins to a pre-designated location. Three people carrying the contraband (three leopard skins) were intercepted. The leads generated by information gathered from them indicated that three more persons connected to the transaction were waiting nearby at a public place. Two teams of officers were immediately dispatched and they intercepted three persons at the public place,” the handout states.
The DRI said that a total eight persons involved in this illegal trading of wildlife, including one serving police constable, were intercepted and a total four skins of Leopard (Panthera pardus) were recovered.
Initial investigation suggested that the leopards were poached from Ladakh, Doda and Uri. (KNO)