The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Saturday said that they have busted a gang that was allegedly smuggling Ambergris, vomit of the whale.
The DRI also seized 18.1 kg of ambergris valued at Rs 31.67 crore in illicit market from Thoothukudi (formerly Tuticorin) Coast. Four persons were arrested in this connection.
According to information, the accused were identified as Eswaran, Anil, Anandaraj and Bethane.
"Based on specific information that a gang would be attempting to smuggle ambergris out of India through the sea route near the coast of Harbour Beach, Thoothukudi to Sri Lanka during the night hours of May 18, DRI Officers intercepted a vehicle along with five persons and recovered 18.1 kg of ambergris from the front seat of the vehicle. The occupants confessed the smuggling attempt," said the official.
The DRI said that ambergris, a product of sperm whales, is a protected species listed under Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, and is thus prohibited for possession or export.
"Ambergris was thus seized along with the vehicle used for transporting the prohibited item," said the official.
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"Four persons from Kerala and Tamil Nadu actively involved in this smuggling attempt of ambergris were arrested. They were produced before the court which remanded them to judicial custody," said the official.
The DRI said that it has intensified its vigil and surveillance in the coastal areas in its endeavour to protect and safeguard the flora and fauna from such smuggling attempts.
In the last two years, the DRI has seized around 40.52 kg of ambergris valued at Rs 54 crore in the international market, attempted to be smuggled out of India from the Thoothukudi Coast.
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