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9 Feb 2017

Darjeeling cops recover wild lizard, arrest two

SNS, Siliguri, 8 February: Darjeeling police recovered a wild lizard Tokay gecko and arrested four persons includ¬ng two Assam residents from Naxalbari today Police suspected the lizard was being smuggled to Nepal. In another incident, Sukna Wildlife Squad seized a suspected cobra and arrested one person.
Police said based on a tip-off, they conducted an operation and seized the gecko, which is scientifically known as Gekko Gecko. "Four persons were waiting for a vehicle at Lalpul in Naxalbari go to Nepal, We are suspecting they had planned to smuggle it to Nepal. We have arrested them and recovered the 31 cm long lizard. We are trying to confirm if any organised wildlife racket is involved with this. We have begun an investigation," said a senior police officer.
The forest officials have said usually the geckos are smuggled to China via Nepal.
"It is being found to be a common trend to smuggle the geckos to China through Nepal and Bhutan. However, the forest department has made a number of seizures in the area and arrested several persons in the recent past. It is learnt that the skin of geckos are used for anti HIV/ AIDS medicine. However the price of the gecko is determined based on its weight and size," said an official.
The four persons have been identified as Nanda Bahadur Chhetri, a resident of Kalahari, Naxalbari, Tahidul Pramanik of Haldibari of Cooch Behar district, Raman Singh alias Ratan Singh alias Ratan Chettri, a resident of Cachar district of Assam and Bijay Tanti of same district of Assam. They were produced before Siliguri Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court "The court ordered 14-day judicial custody to them," said assistant public prosecutor Sudip Roy Basunia.
The gecko was handed over to the Kurseong Forest Division.
Meanwhile, the Sukna Wildlife Squad seized a suspected around six feet long cobra from Bhaktinagar area in Siliguri.
"One person has been arrested in this connection," said the divisional forest officer of Darjeeling Forest Division Dharam Deo Rai.

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