Delhi: Smuggler held with 100 turtles, some from endangered species

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New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) Delhi Police has arrested a 38-year-old man for allegedly smuggling 100 turtles, 50 of them from endangered species, in the Shahdara area, officials on Wednesday said.

Police said they recovered 50 Indian Roofed turtles, 45 Black Spotted Pond turtles, three Indian Eye turtles, and two Indian Softshell turtles from the possession of Ghaziabad resident Bheem.

Black Spotted Pond turtle, Indian Eye turtle and Indian Softshell turtle are from endangered species which are covered under Schedule-I of the Wild Life Protection Act. These species need rigorous protection.  "On Tuesday, Geeta Colony police station got information regarding the arrival of a smuggler with endangered species of turtles in the area," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Surendra Choudhary said.

The officer said that a team was formed along with the informer to nab the accused.

Traps were laid near Sai Memorial Public School, Raja Ram Kohli Marg and under the flyover of Pushta road near Geeta colony, police said.

"At about 1.15 pm, the team spotted a person on a scooter carrying a big bag. The informer identified the vehicle and its driver and the suspect was apprehended," the DCP said.

When the police team opened the bag, they found several live turtles inside. On enquiry the accused could not give any satisfactory answer regarding the possession of the turtles, the police said.

Upon a thorough checking, 100 live turtles were recovered from the bag and they were seized, the DCP said.

“An FIR under the provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act and Section 11(A) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act has been registered at Geeta Colony police station," DCP Choudhary said, adding that the wildlife department has also been informed.

The officer further said during interrogation the accused disclosed that he along with his associate, Ravi Bhatnagar, are involved in smuggling turtles and other extinct species.

"As per his disclosure he used to catch the species of turtle from the Ganga river stretched in Garhmukteshwar area called Garh Ganga and from the subsidiary rivers,” he said.

“The accused further disclosed that recently a case regarding the smuggling of turtles was registered against Ravi Bhatnagar in Ghaziabad. Search for Ravi is also going on," DCP Choudhary said. PTI BM NB

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