India: In a joint operation by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and the Karnataka police, five pieces of ivory, weighing 17.2 kilograms, was seized from a gang on Monday at Chikka Tirupathi, around 40 kilometres from Bengaluru. Four pieces were stolen from the Forest Range Office in Kuppam in Andhra Pradesh and one was allegedly cut off a dead elephant in Tamil Nadu.
According to police sources, T.P. Pradeep, inspector, WCCB, southern region, learnt that a gang was smuggling ivory into Bengaluru via Chikka Tirupathi. The WCCB and police sent a decoy to meet them under the pretext of purchasing the ivory. The gang members came in a hatchback. They met the undercover cops in Chikka Tirupathi under Malur police station limits.
“The arrested persons are Mehboob Basha, Madhusudan, Mayakannan, Petiasamy, Mani and Duraisamy,” said a WCCB official.
Basha was a watchman in the Forest Range Office in Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh. “We suspect him of stealing the ivory kept in the office in collusion with some forest officials. This happened nearly a year ago,” said a police officer.
Mani claims to have cut the tusk of a dead elephant in Anchetty in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. “We have to verify his claim,” added the officer.
The six are suspected to be part of a bigger gang that smuggles ivory. “The tusks are carefully packed and smuggled on two-wheelers, public transport vehicles and cars. They are brought to Bengaluru for sale,” said the officer.
“Further investigations will reveal whom they work for and who their regular customers are,” added the officer.
Man trampled to death by tusker at Uddehosakere
Tumakuru: A 50-year-old man was trampled to death by a tusker at Uddehosakere village in Gubbi taluk of Tumakuru district on Tuesday. The deceased, Rangaiah, was working in his field around 7.30 a.m. when the incident took place.
According to officials, the tusker had entered Tumakuru district two days ago.
On January 8, two men from the same taluk were trampled to death by a tusker.
(Source: The Hindu)