Rare tortoise seized, two held
With the arrest of two men, police on Tuesday claimed to have busted an inter-state gang dealing with rare and prohibited species of wild animals. A tortoise has also been recovered from the possession of Sanjay, 22 of Ajmer, and Raju Chaturvedi, 36, who lives at Sonia Vihar in Delhi.
“They were dealing with rare species of various wild animals. The tortoise we recovered from them belongs to a rare species called the Indian Soft Shell Turtle.
“Sanjay told us that he had caught this tortoise from Bayawar village in Rajasthan,” said Devesh Chandra Srivastva, additional commissioner of police (central).
“They were going to Prem Nagar to look for a buyer. They had also said the market price of the animal would be above Rs 5 lakh,” he added.
On Monday, police were tipped off that two men, who were dealing in rare species of animals, would arrive at Balraj Khanna Marg in Patel Nagar on a motorcycle.
Cops then started checking all vehicles passing by a barricade set up near the West Inn Hotel on Balraj Khanna Marg.
Srivastva said a police team at the barricade saw them on a motorcycle and signalled them to stop. They tried fleeing, but were nabbed. “We recovered a tortoise wrapped in a T-shirt from their bag. Some officers of the wildlife department were called at the spot and they confirmed that the tortoise was an ‘Indian soft shell turtle’,” he said.
Raju and Sanjay disclosed that they became acquainted with each other through a common friend, whom police are searching for.
A case under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 has been registered against the duo at Patel Nagar police station.
Later, on the directions of a city court, the tortoise was set free in Yamuna River.