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17 Feb 2018

Two held with jumbo tusk

The seized ivory pieces at the DRI office in Siliguri on Friday. Telegraph picture
BIRESWAR BANERJEE, TT, Feb 16, 2018: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arrested two persons from Thursday and seized considerable quantity of elephant tusk from them.

The youths were carrying the ivory in three pieces which weighs about 12 kilos and costs around Rs 1.11 crore in the international market, sources said.

The arrested Saiful Islam hails from Assam and Santosh Pradhan is a Siliguri resident.

"On Wednesday, Islam and Pradhan boarded a Siliguri-bound bus from Pashighat in Arunachal Pradesh. On way, as the bus halted at a roadside eatery in Lakhimpur, a person came to them and handed over the ivory pieces. They were asked to deliver the stuff in Siliguri," said Ratan Banik, the lawyer representing DRI.

"Actong on a tip-off, a team from DRI's Siliguri unit waited at Mallaguri area. As the bus arrived in Siliguri's Mallaguri area on Thursday, they intercepted the duo. The arrested men were taken to the DRI office and while frisking their luggage, pieces of elephant trunk were recovered," Banik added.

DRI sources said they have got the ivory verified by forest officials.

"Forest officials have confirmed that the pieces recovered from the duo's possession are elephant tusk and suspect that the animal was poached in Assam. We are trying to find out whether they have connections with poachers," said a source.

The duo were trying to smuggle the ivory to Nepal through Siliguri, the sources said.

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