Friday, April 12, 2024

NRI Arrested For Trying To Smuggle ‘Wildlife Trophy’ Out Of India: Cops

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Wildlife trophy is any organ of a poached animal kept as a souvenir (Representational)

New Delhi:

A 60-year-old non-resident Indian was caught at the Delhi airport while attempting to smuggle out of the country a ‘wildlife trophy’, police said on Friday.

Paljit Singh Paul Lalvani was about to board a US-bound flight on March 24 when he was intercepted by the security personnel of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, they said.

A wildlife trophy is any organ like a head or skin of a poached animal kept as a souvenir.

The animal is presumed to be an antelope covered under Scheduled I and II of the Wildlife Protection Act, according to the FIR accessed by PTI.

The Delhi Police registered an FIR against Lalvani, a resident of New York in the US, on March 26 following a complaint filed by the Department of Forest and Wildlife.

The incident came to light when Lalvani’s baggage was scanned at the airport and a suspicious item was noticed in one of his suitcases, the FIR said. He was subsequently apprehended.

Lalvani was initially booked under the Customs Act, 1962, but the case was later given to the Wildlife Department by the duty magistrate, Patiala House Court, with instructions to register an FIR.

Lalvani was handed over to the Customs officials and they booked him under relevant sections of the Customs Act, 1962.

“I am writing to bring to your attention a serious violation of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which occurred at Indira Gandhi International Airport on March 24,” read the FIR filed by Rajesh Tandon, Deputy Range Officer, West Forest Division, Delhi.

“I urge you to kindly register an FIR against Paljit Singh Paul Lalvani, who was supposed to travel to the US,” it said.

“The incident took place on March 24 when Lalvani was apprehended by DIAL (Airport Security) while attempting to transport the aforementioned wildlife trophy out of the country,” read the FIR.

Lalvani was produced at Patiala House court and was granted bail under the Customs Acts. However, the duty magistrate directed the Customs officials to hand over the seized article to the Wildlife Department with further direction to intimate the Station House Officer (SHO) IGI police station for registration of FIR.

“This act is a clear violation of several sections of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, including but not limited to Sections 39, 40, 48A, 49, 49B, and 51. As per Section 39 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, possession and transport of trophies of scheduled species without proper authorisation are strictly prohibited,” read the FIR.

The FIR further stated that under Section 40, any attempt to export such trophies without requisite permits is punishable under the law.

A senior Delhi Police officer said that a case under provisions 39, 49 and 51 of the Wild Animal Protection Act, 1972 has been registered and a further probe has been initiated.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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