* Marine & Schedule-1 species also seized
GUWAHATI: Sleuths of WCCB (Wildlife Crime Control Bureau), Guwahati and the State Forest Department, on Wednesday, busted a racket involved in the sale of animal and plant parts, including those of Schedule-1 species besides marine ones, in Guwahati.
This seizure is believed to be one of the biggest ones of its kind in the country. Acting on an intelligence input, the sleuths seized 600 pieces of sea fan — a Schedule 1 species— from the shop of Rahul Choudhary at Ganeshguri here. His outlet near Lakshmi Mandir is 'Rahul Puja Bhandar'. He has been arrested in this connection.
The confessional statement of Rahul Choudhury led to more raids, leading to the recovery of even more plant and animal parts, besides the arrest of two others. Interrogation of the three persons was going on till the filing of this report.
While 29 kg of sea fan was recovered from the godown of Jitendra Saha; five kg of sea fan, 14 pieces of suspected musk pod (mrigonabhi), 2 kg of animal parts, 43 pieces of lizards' penis (guisap-monikara or hathjora), 1.5 kg of porcupine spikes, three pieces of parts of an unidentified animal from the shop of Santosh Gupta, both located atop Nilachal Hill near the Kamakhya Temple.
The operation team led by Forest Range Officer Pankaj Kumar Borah and WCCB Intelligence Assistant Hiten Borah also included other WCCB officials.
According to a source, the trio has confessed before the investigators that some babas (saints) who frequently visit the Kamakhya Temple hand over such animal and plant parts to them. The trio maintains that such articles are needed for various pujas and other Hindu rituals. The baba angle to the investigation is also being followed.
While Rahul Choudhury is a resident of Guwahati, Santosh Gupta and Jitender Saha hail from Bihar even though both of them have their residences atop Nilachal Hill.