Pradeep Pattanayak

With a view to tighten its noose around wildlife criminals, the Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha Crime Branch has declared poachers, middlemen and wildlife criminals as most wanted. 

A blue print to confiscate the moveable and immovable properties of such criminals is being prepared.
As per the information shared by the STF, as many as 12 tusks have been seized and several criminals have been arrested since 2020 to date. Apart from elephant tusk smuggling, the illegal trade of venom, leopard skins and pangolin has lately witnessed a rising trend. 

During the period, as many as 21 leopard skins and 15 kilograms of pangolin scales were seized, eight live pangolins were rescued, over three venom rackets were busted and 48 wildlife criminals were apprehended. 

Since these criminals are amassing money from the proceeds of crime, as is in case of the drug mafia, the STF has decided to prepare a most wanted list of the wildlife criminals and their assets would be confiscated. 

From some of the recent cases, a startling fact has come to the fore. The urge of earning huge money has attracted drug peddlers into wildlife crime. “Most often the forest department officials reveal the value of seized animal body parts like tusk, leopard hides and pangolin scales. Their value runs in lakhs. This entices drug peddlers into wildlife crime,” observed honorary wildlife warden Subhendu Mallick. 

To confiscate the ill-gotten assets of drug mafia, the STF and police have already prepared a blue pint. Plan is under consideration to declare the smugglers in hit list as absconders.  

As a part of this process, the competent authority in Kolkata issued a notice to confiscate Rs 2 crore worth asset belonging to narcotics kingpin Takklu. A notice has been sent to Takklu, who is presently lodged in Jharpada jail in Bhubaneswar.  

Similarly, inter-state drug smuggler Asgar, who was apprehended in Jodhpur in Rajasthan, was produced in a Balasore court. During interrogation, he had revealed that more than 100 members are working in his syndicate. 

When contacted, STF SP Tejraj Patel said they will identify the moveable and immovable assets of Asgar and the properties he has made through illegal means would be confiscated.

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