NEW DELHI: Over 480kg of ivory worth several crores in the international market has been recovered from a businessman in Delhi after a joint operation by Kerala Forest Department, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and Delhi Police, senior officials said today.
The accused identified as Umesh Aggrawal is a Delhi-based businessman dealing in art and collectibles and is suspected to be the kingpin of an ivory trading syndicate.
He was arrested on October 2 and taken to Kerala, where several cases are registered against him, said a senior official at Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), adding Aggrawal disclosed the location of hidden ivory on October 10, after which a special team was moved to Delhi.
"Once we were informed about the operation, the Station House Officers of Shakarpur and Zaffrabad police stations were asked to form teams and join the operation. Within hours, a raid was conducted and ivory was recovered," said Joint Commissioner of Police (East) Sanjay Baniwal.
Once the ivory was discovered, it took around 12 hours for the team to examine the haul, which was sent to Kerala today.
"This haul was the result of a carefully planned 'Operation Shikar'. The activities of the suspected syndicate came to light from the detailed analysis of call records of middlemen and poachers from Kerala," said the senior official, adding that crucial tip-off in this case were provided by WTI and its partner International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
The operation was initiated in June soon after the discovery of organized elephant poaching in Kerala and two persons, identified as Ajir Brite and Preston, were arrested. It later emerged that the duo allegedly supplied ivory to Aggarwal.